AFL-CIO's Own Employees Weigh in On Brewing Leadership Conflict

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Last night, the personal and professional dispute that has gripped the highest ranks of the AFL-CIO’s leadership was joined by another relevant party: the AFL-CIO’s own unionized employees.


The leadership dispute burst into the open earlier this week, when the AFL-CIO’s third-in-command, executive vice president Tefere Gebre, appealed to the labor federation’s executive council to intervene and overrule AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who had suspended Gebre and ordered a formal investigation of a contested expense account charge. The single receipt in question was for a $117 payment last November at a Miami strip club. Gebre says the receipt was submitted in error by his staff, and was withdrawn when it was pointed out.

The executive council has plans to discuss the issue on Monday.

Now, the AFL-CIO’s own employees have weighed in to support Gebre, in the form of a joint public letter from the locals of the two unions that represent the organization’s staffers—the News Guild, which represents professional staffers, and the OPEIU, which represents administrative and janitorial staff.

May 2, 2019

Attn: Interested Parties

To Whom it May Concern: In light of yesterday’s article, we find it necessary that we speak out. Our Executive Vice President, Tefere Gebre, is a person of decency and honor who represents the values that we all share as part of the labor movement.

While the members of OPEIU are in ongoing negotiations over their collective bargaining agreement, there is no connection between those negotiations and the accusations raised against our Executive Vice President.

These accusations seem to be nothing more than an internal dispute that neither of our units are involved in. Executive Vice President Gebre has always treated us with respect and dignity and we look forward to working with him for the betterment of all workers in the future.

Neither the AFL-CIO nor Gebre have publicly commented on the issue thus far.

If you would like to share any relevant information, email me.

Senior Writer.