The ILCA was founded in 1955 as the International Labor Press Association. Its formation was brought about by the merger of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations. The body was established as a means of coordinating the message of the new organization in labor newsletters, newspapers and magazines throughout the labor movements. It changed its name to ILCA in 1985.
The ILCA is not a competitor to the Canadian Association of Labour Media/Association canadienne de la presse syndicale (CALM/acps) (the organization representing labor media in Canada). The ILCA and CALM/acps share the goal of increasing the effectiveness of labor media and promoting the objectives of the labor movement in both nations. Accordingly, both organizations hold fraternal associate membership status in the other, and both organizations have a seat on the other's executive council.