Powerful, unanimous voices are being heard from across our nation’s labor movement. They are stating in one voice: “Unity!”

Two state labor federations from opposite sides of the country — Connecticut and New Mexico — have overwhelmingly passed a unity resolution that “calls upon all the affiliates of the AFL-CIO to reject any attempt to break apart the federation and weaken its movement.”

The resolution goes on to say, “Splitting the movement jeopardizes workers at the very time of the greatest need ever for a strong, united labor movement with an aggressive agenda on behalf of working families. All labor organizations are urged to reaffirm their commitment to a unified and stronger labor federation by fully affiliating every union with the AFL-CIO at all levels.”

These two state federations are the latest in what is becoming a wave of unity resolutions, coming in response to threats by some unions to withdraw from the AFL-CIO, effectively splitting the U.S. labor movement.

Memorial Day weekend saw the 1,500 delegates at the national convention of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) strongly urge unity of the labor movement and announce that they were launching town hall meetings across the nation to fight for labor unity. CBTU also condemned the demand by some unions to cut the size of the AFL-CIO leadership, saying this action would dramatically cut the number of minorities and women in leadership.

Also in the last few weeks, in Ohio, the Lorain County AFL-CIO federation unanimously passed a unity resolution calling on all unions to “engage in concerted efforts to resolve differences within the labor movement based on mutual respect, cooperation and the good will of the labor movement as a whole.” The Ashtabula AFL-CIO Retiree Council passed the same resolution, following the Cleveland AFL-CIO Retiree Council, which passed it two weeks earlier. Central labor councils in Columbus and Warren/Youngstown are holding special sessions to take up the unity resolution. In New York and Los Angeles the unity resolution has been introduced and is expected to pass easily. The Seattle-area AFL-CIO passed the first unity resolution two months ago.

This mass call for unity takes place in the face of the most powerful attack on U.S. labor in its history. There is strong feeling throughout the labor movement that if the AFL-CIO were split, it would breathe new life into Bush’s attempt to privatize Social Security and would greatly weaken any drive to organize Wal-Mart and other unorganized areas.

“We won’t accept disunity,” said Lorain County AFL-CIO President Brian Baker. “We’ve fought long and hard, against tough odds, to get unity of labor in this area. We’re not going to let anybody split us up. We can only win if we’re united!”

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