LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Key to dramatically ratcheting up labor’s power is improving the performance of state and local labor organizations, said a statement from the AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting here March 2. The role of the federation’s 51 state and 543 local central labor councils (CLCs) has been an important part of the discussions about strengthening the labor movement.

A meeting of leaders of state AFL-CIOs and CLCs in February produced a consensus proposal cited by the Executive Council. The upcoming July convention of the AFL-CIO can be expected to set new priorities and even draft constitutional changes to implement some of the new ideas.

State and local federations have the primary responsibility for carrying out the programs of the national AFL-CIO, the statement said, adding, “mobilizing our members around issues that affect them in their communities and where they work” is the way to achieve the goal of a unified and effective program of support for organizing as well as politics and legislation. Such mobilization campaigns should be “well-resourced” and “on a continuing basis, not just during national elections.”

Developing a state-by-state strategic planning system was highlighted in the council’s statement, which also called for the participation of local unions and constituency groups in developing these strategies.

The statement called for the amalgamation within states of central labor councils to form larger bodies with greater resources to carry out the plans. These amalgamations have elicited some outcry in the past from labor activists who claim that the results have been counterproductive, moving the center of labor struggle farther from the rank and file and local communities. Perhaps to address this concern, the statement calls for “either labor councils or some other form” to be maintained or established “to provide a political voice in the various communities of the union members who reside or work there.”