WASHINGTON (PAI) — AFL-CIO President John Sweeney is seeking comments on changing the labor federation’s nature and structure. “We will undertake a full and open discussion about our future and the choices we must make together,” he said in an early December letter, outlining topics for the federation’s 50th-anniversary convention, to be held in Chicago in late July 2005.

“We need to be humble enough to recognize we do not yet have the answers, but we need the determination to seek those answers and make extremely hard decisions” about labor’s future, he said. Sweeney said the federation’s Executive Council would offer its own revamp plans to the convention. The council expects to discuss those plans at its meeting in Las Vegas, March 1-3.

“A key element in this process is ensuring we open up the discussion to all levels of the movement and hear everyone’s voice,” Sweeney said. He wants every national union to send him a list of issues it believes the AFL-CIO must address in the revamp process “along with any suggestions for meeting those challenges.”

Sweeney seeks input from state federations, central labor councils, constituency groups, labor’s allies, union activists, rank and file members and “friends of labor.”

The federation’s executive committee — a 25-member group of top union leaders — will sort through the suggestions, seek those where there is consensus and those that need more study, and present its findings to the council at the Las Vegas meeting.

To join the discussion, go to aflcio.org and click on “Give us your thoughts. How should the union movement build for the future?”