This summer the Teamsters, SEIU, UFCW, and UNITE HERE split from the AFL-CIO union federation at their annual convention in Chicago. For the first time in half a century, the US trade unions are officially divided into large, separate camps.  The break up of the AFL-CIO came as a shock to many trade unionists and activists.  These four unions alone represent over one third of the federation’s 13 million members. But is it a step forward for US workers?

Hurricane Katrina will be remembered for years to come as an important turning point in the USA. Thousands, tens of thousands of poor people have been left to fend for themselves, many dying dehydrated, in what is the richest country in the world. People are noting that the Bush administration, very quick to mobilize a huge army to invade Iraq, has been painfully slow in helping the people of New Orleans. The class question is emerging clearly and this will have profound effects on the whole of US society.