List of unions affiliated with the AFL–CIO
Below is a list of unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO. Since its founding in 1886, the AFL-CIO and its predecessor bodies have been the dominant labor federation (at least in terms of the number of member workers, if not influence) in the United States. As of 2014, the labor federation had approximately 12.7 million members. As of 2015, the AFL-CIO had 56 member unions.
On December 8, 1886, the five-year-old Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions dissolved itself and became the American Federation of Labor (AFL). In its first half-century, a large number of trade and labor unions formed, joined the AFL, and either merged with other unions or ceased to exist. Many unions, particularly those in the construction industry and affiliated building trades, disaffiliated from the AFL for a variety of reasons. Some rejoined; some did not.
Throughout the AFL's history, jurisdictional issues caused a number of disaffiliations. In contrast to its early rival, the Knights of labor, the AFL had adopted a policy of forming and admitting to membership (with a few limited, and notable, exceptions such as the United Mine Workers and Brewery Workers) only craft unions—unions whose membership was limited to workers with a single, narrow skill-set. But industrialization, with its emphasis on teams rather than individual workers manufacturing a product, disadvantaged craft unions in the drive to organize workers. A notable example was the effort to unionize the steel industry, where the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers' adherence to craft unionism was a factor in the failure of many unionization drives. Some unions, including some large ones such as the Mine Workers, began advocating for a shift toward industrial unionism, where a union would organize all workers (regardless of skills) in a single company, market, or industry.
The battle between the craft and industrial union philosophies led to a major membership loss for the AFL in 1935. In the first years of the Great Depression, a number of AFL member unions advocated for a relaxation of the strict "craft union only" membership policy but to no avail. In 1932, Mine Workers president John L. Lewis privately proposed to several like-minded union presidents that those unions which wanted to organize workers on an industrial basis form a group to begin to do just that. The group met informally for three years, and lost a number of jurisdictional battles over potential or newly organized workers. Eight national unions formally organized themselves into the Committee for Industrial Organization (CIO) on November 9, 1935. On September 10, 1936, the AFL suspended all 10 CIO unions (two more had joined in the previous year) and their four million members. In 1938, these unions formed the Congress of Industrial Organizations as a rival labor federation.
Over the next 20 years, both the AFL and CIO would lose member unions. The AFL would purge some member unions for advocating industrial unionism (notably the United Auto Workers and the United Rubber Workers) or for supporting political philosophies it felt were antithetical to its purposes. It also reaffiliated some unions which had joined the CIO. The CIO, for its part, expelled a number of unions in 1948 after concluding they had become infiltrated by Communists (at least one additional union disaffiliated rather than be expelled). Both the AFL and CIO would form new unions to compete with those they had expelled, with varying degrees of success.
By the early 1950s, however, the disagreement over craft and industrial unionism had largely ceased to exist. In 1955, the AFL and CIO merged to forming a new entity known as the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). Over the next five decades, the AFL-CIO continued to gain and lose member unions. After a series of particularly divisive union raids on one another as well as repeated jursidictional squabbles, the AFL adopted Article 20 of its constitution, which prevented its member unions from raiding one another—a policy retained in the AFL-CIO constitution. Theoretically, violation of Article 20 could lead to expulsion, but corruption soon became much more important than jurisdictional issues. After hearings by the Senate Select Committee on Improper Activities in Labor and Management led to major revelations regarding the dominance of several AFL-CIO unions by organized crime, new rules were enacted by the AFL-CIO's Executive Council that provided for the removal of vice presidents engaged in corruption as well as the ejection of unions considered corrupt. The labor federation expelled the International Brotherhood of Teamsters on corruption charges on December 6, 1957.
Membership changes continued, albeit at a markedly lower level, throughout the last four decades of the 20th century. On a few occasions, unions in the construction industry disaffiliated and reaffiliated. The most important membership changes, however, occurred in 1968. The United Auto Workers (UAW) disaffiliated from the AFL-CIO on July 1, 1968, after UAW President Walter Reuther and AFL-CIO President George Meany could not come to agreement on a wide range of national public policy issues or on reforms regarding AFL-CIO governance. A few days after the UAW's disaffiliation, the UAW and the Teamsters formed a new labor federation, the Alliance for Labor Action (ALA). Several smaller AFL-CIO unions either joined the ALA and were expelled from the AFL-CIO for dual unionism or disaffiliated and joined the ALA. The ALA was not successful, however, and ceased to exist in January 1972. Over the years, most of the unions which had been expelled or left the AFL-CIO rejoined it. For example, the UAW re-affiliated on July 1, 1981, and the Teamsters did so on October 24, 1987.
The AFL-CIO saw several disaffiliations in the first decade of the 21st century. The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America disaffiliated from the AFL-CIO on March 29, 2001, disagreeing with the labor federation's rapid expansion in spending. After lengthy debate and disagreement over dues levels, the governance structure, the leadership, and the philosophy of the AFL-CIO, the Laborers' International Union of North America, Service Employees International Union, Teamsters, UNITE HERE, United Farm Workers, and United Food and Commercial Workers disaffiliated from the AFL-CIO to form the Change to Win, a new national union federation. The Carpenters joined the new federation as well.
After the split, the AFL-CIO gained two new members. The 100,000-member independent California School Employees Association joined the federation in August 2001, and the 65,000-member independent California Nurses Association joined in March 2007. After a lengthy and divisive internal leadership struggle within UNITE HERE, 100,000 members of the union's apparel division disaffiliated from the national union in March 2009, formed a new union called Workers United, and affiliated their union with SEIU. The remaining 265,000 members of UNITE HERE reaffiliated with the AFL-CIO on September 16, 2009.
LIUNA rejoined the AFL-CIO in August 2010. Three years later, UFCW did as well. The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) was decertified in 2010 as players faced a lockout, but reformed and rejoined the AFL-CIO in 2011. The National Taxi Workers Alliance (also known as the New York Taxi Workers Alliance) affiliated with the AFL-CIO as well. It was the first non-traditional workers' organization to do so since the early 1960s. However, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union disaffiliated from the federation on August 30, 2013, accusing the AFL-CIO of unwillingness to punish other unions when their members crossed ILWU picket lines and over federal legislative policy issues.
AFL-CIO membership criteria
Article III of the AFL-CIO constitution, as amended, addresses membership in the AFL-CIO. Membership is limited to national and international unions and to certain subordinate bodies of the AFL-CIO (such as organizing committees, directly affiliated local unions, departments, and state and local central labor bodies). Article III, Section 4(a) gives the Executive Council (or the President, if the Executive Council so designates) the power to approve new affiliations, and restricts new affiliates to union whose jurisdiction does not conflict with the jurisdiction of existing members (unless the existing members authorize such affiliation).
 Article III, Section 4(b) provides for provisional charters and the attaching of conditions to provisional charters. Section 5 declares that charters shall not be revoked without a two-thirds affirmative vote of the convention, and for the restoration of charters upon a two-thirds vote of either the convention or Executive Council. Section 7 provides for the expulsion of member unions if they are "officered, controlled or dominated by persons whose policies and activities are consistently directed toward the achievement of the program or purposes of authoritarianism, totalitarianism, terrorism and other forces that suppress individual liberties and freedom of association".
 Article X, Section 8 gives the Executive Council the authority to investigate "any situation in which there is reason to believe that any affiliate is dominated, controlled or substantially influenced in the conduct of its affairs by any corrupt influence" and upon a two-thirds vote suspend any member found to be so influenced. Article X, Section 17 permits the Executive Council to establish a code of ethical conduct for the AFL-CIO, its departments and councils, and its staff; to require member unions to also establish such codes; and upon a two-thirds vote to suspend any member found to be in violation of such codes.
Article III, Section 8, amended in 2005, establishes that it is the official policy of the AFL-CIO to encourage its members with overlapping and/or conflicting jurisdiction to merge, to encourage smaller unions to merge into larger ones, and to encourage member unions to reduce overlapping jurisdiction.
Article IV of the AFL-CIO constitution provides for representation of members at the quadrennial convention. Article X of the AFL-CIO constitution provides for an Executive Council, and for representation of members on this council.
Article XI of the AFL-CIO constitution provides for a General Board, and for representation of members on this board.
Currently affiliated unions
This is a list of AFL-CIO affiliated member unions:
- Actors' Equity Association (AEA)
- Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA)
- Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU)
- American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE)
- American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM)
- American Federation of School Administrators (AFSA)
- American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
- American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
- American Postal Workers Union (APWU)
- American Radio Association (ARA)
- American Train Dispatchers Association (ATDA)
- Associated Actors and Artistes of America (4As)
- Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers' International Union (BCTGM)
- Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen (BRS)
- California School Employees Association (CSEA)
- Communications Workers of America (CWA)
- Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC)
- Gay and Lesbian Labor Activists Network (GALLAN)
- Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics and Allied Workers International Union (GMP)
- International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its Territories and Canada (IATSE)
- International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers (Ironworkers)
- International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)
- International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers
- International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM)
- International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers (IBB)
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
- International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE)
- International Longshoremen's Association (ILA)
- International Plate Printers, Die Stampers and Engravers Union of North America
- International Union of Allied Novelty and Production Workers (Novelty and Production Workers)
- International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC)
- International Union of Elevator Constructors (IUEC)
- International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE)
- International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT)
- International Union of Police Associations (IUPA)
- Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA)
- Marine Engineers Beneficial Association (MEBA)
- National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA)
- National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)
- National Football League Players Association (NFLPA)
- National Nurses United (NNU)
- National Taxi Workers' Alliance (NTWA)
- Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU)
- Operative Plasterers' and Cement Masons' International Association of the United States and Canada (OPCMIA)
- Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)
- Seafarers International Union of North America (SIU)
- Sheet Metal Air Rail Transportation International Association (SMART)
- Transport Workers Union of America (TWU)
- UNITE HERE
- United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada (UA)
- United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America International Union (UAW)
- United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)
- United Mine Workers of America (UMWA)
- United Steelworkers (USW)
- United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers (Roofers and Waterproofers)
- Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA)
- Writers Guild of America, East Inc. (WGAE)
Formerly affiliated unions
Disaffiliated or merged
- International Union of United Brewery, Flour, Cereal, Soft Drink and Distillery Workers - merged with International Brotherhood of Teamsters in 1973
- Service Employees International Union (SEIU) - disaffiliated in 2005 and became founding member union of the Change to Win Federation
- International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT or Teamsters) - expelled by AFL-CIO in 1957 for corruption; re-affiliated with AFL-CIO in 1987; disaffiliated in 2005 and became founding member union of Change to Win
- Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE) - merged with HERE in 2004 to form UNITE HERE
- Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union (HERE) - merged with UNITE in 2004 to form UNITE HERE
- United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America - disaffiliated in 2001; joined Change to Win in 2005, disaffiliated from Change to Win in summer 2009
- United Farm Workers of America (UFWA) - disaffiliated in 2006 and joined Change to Win
- United American Nurses (UNA) - merged with the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC) and the Massachusetts Nurses Association to create a new AFL-CIO member union, National Nurses United
- International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) - disaffiliated in August 2013 over policy and other differences
Disaffiliated and re-affiliated
- Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) - founding member union of Change to Win in 2005, but re-affiliated with the AFL-CIO in 2010
- UNITE HERE - founding member union of Change to Win in 2005, but re-affiliated with the AFL-CIO in 2009
- United Auto Workers (UAW) - disaffiliated in 1968 to form the Alliance for Labor Action with the Teamsters, re-affiliated in 1981
- United Food and Commercial Workers - founding member union of Change to Win in 2005, but re-affiliated with the AFL-CIO in 2013
- US Department of Labor, Office of Labor-Management Standards. File number 000-106. Report submitted September 26, 2014.
- Form LM-2 Labor Organization Annual Report. AFL-CIO National Headquarters. File Number 000-106. June 30, 2008. Accessed 2009-09-19
- "AFL-CIO". Annenberg Public Policy Center. June 17, 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
- "AFL-CIO Unions". AFL-CIO. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
- Dubofsky, Melvyn and Dulles, Foster Rhea. Labor in America: A History. 6th ed. Wheeling, Ill.: Harlan Davidson, Inc., 1999. ISBN 0-88295-979-4
- Foner, Philip. History of the Labor Movement in the United States. Vol. 1: From Colonial Times to the Founding of the American Federation of Labor. New York: International Publishers, 1947. ISBN 0-7178-0089-X
- Foner, Philip S. History of the Labor Movement in the United States. Vol. 2: From the Founding of the American Federation of Labor to the Emergence of American Imperialism. New York: International Publishers, 1955. ISBN 0-7178-0092-X
- Rayback, Joseph G. A History of American Labor. Rev. and exp. ed. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1966. ISBN 0-02-925850-2
- Palladino, Grace. Skilled Hands, Strong Spirits: A Century of Building Trades History. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-8014-4320-2
- Foner, Philip S. History of the Labor Movement in the United States. Vol. 3: The Policies and Practices of the American Federation of Labor, 1900-1909. Paperback ed. New York: International Publishers, 1964. ISBN 0-7178-0389-9; Foner, Philip S. History of the Labor Movement in the United States. Vol. 4: Industrial Workers of the World. Paperback ed. New York: International Publishers, 1965. ISBN 0-7178-0396-1; Foner, Philip S. History of the Labor Movement in the United States. Vol. 5: The AFL in the Progressive Era, 1910-1915. Paperback ed. New York: International Publishers, 1980. ISBN 0-7178-0562-X; Foner, Philip S. History of the Labor Movement in the United States. Vol. 8: Postwar Struggles, 1918-1920. Paperback ed. New York: International Publishers, 1988. ISBN 0-7178-0652-9
- Brody, David. Steelworkers in America: The Nonunion Era. New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1969. ISBN 0-252-06713-4; Brody, David. "The Origins of Modern Steel Unionism: The SWOC Era." In Forging a Union of Steel: Philip Murray, SWOC, and the United Steelworkers. Ithaca, N.Y.: ILR Press, 1987. ISBN 0-87546-134-4
- Galenson, Walter. The CIO Challenge to the AFL: A History of the American Labor Movement. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1960. ISBN 0-674-13150-9; Phelan, Craig. William Green: Biography of a Labor Leader. Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press, 1989. ISBN 0-88706-871-5; Zieger, Robert H. The CIO 1935-1955. Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press, 1995. ISBN 0-8078-2182-9
- Bernstein, Irving. The Turbulent Years: A History of the American Worker, 1933-1941. Paperback ed. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin Co., 1970. ISBN 0-395-11778-X
- Dubofsky, Melvyn and Van Tine, Warren. John L. Lewis: A Biography. Reprint ed. Champaign, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1992. ISBN 978-0-252-01287-7
- Goldberg, Arthur J. AFL-CIO: Labor United. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1956.
- Levey, "Union Raiding Ban Drafted By A.F.L.," New York Times, August 14, 1954.
- Loftus, Joseph A. "Meany Summons Council to Weigh Beck Suspension." New York Times. April 17, 1956; Raskin, A.H. "Meany Wins Round Against Underworld." New York Times. April 29, 1956; Loftus, Joseph A. "A.F.L.-C.I.O. Votes to Curb Rackets." New York Times. August 30, 1956; Loftus, Joseph A. "Union Questioned On Hiding of Data." New York Times. January 18, 1957.
- "A.F.L.-C.I.O. to Go Ahead With Expulsion of Teamsters." New York Times. December 4, 1957; Raskin, A.H. "Meany Will Drop Teamster Ouster If Hoffa Gets Out." New York Times. December 5, 1957; "Teamsters Await Expulsion Today." New York Times. December 6, 1957; Raskin, A.H. "A.F.L.-C.I.O. Ousts Teamsters Union By Vote of 5 to 1." New York Times. December 7, 1957.
- Lichtenstein, Nelson. The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit: Walter Reuther and the Fate of American Labor. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1995. ISBN 0-252-06626-X
- Janson, Donald. "U.A.W. and Teamsters Form Alliance." New York Times. July 24, 1968; Stetson, Damon. "2 Biggest Unions Set Up Alliance." New York Times. May 27, 1969; "Mr. Clean and the Outcast." Time. June 6, 1969.
- "Chemical Workers Join Reuther Group." United Press International. September 19, 1968; Stetson, Damon. "A.F.L.-C.I.O. Expels the Chemical Workers for Ties to Reuther." New York Times. October 4, 1969; Stetson, Damon. "Local Union of Retail Workers Is Near Split With Parent Body." New York Times. March 21, 1969; "New Union Is Formed." Associated Press. May 25, 1969.
- Salpuka, Agis. "U.A.W., in Debt, Halts Funds For Alliance With Teamsters." New York Times. July 6, 1971; Salpuka, Agis. "A Labor Alliance to Be Dissolved." New York Times. January 25, 1972.
- Peterson, Iver. "After 13 Years, Auto Union Joins A.F.L.-C.I.O. Again." New York Times. July 2, 1981.
- Noble, Kenneth. "Teamsters Gain A Readmittance to A.F.L.-C.I.O." New York Times. October 25, 1987.
- "Carpenters’ Union Cuts Ties With AFL-CIO Over Direction." Las Vegas Sun. March 30, 2001; Bernstein, Aaron. "A Mutiny in the AFL-CIO." BusinessWeek. March 29, 2001.
- SEIU and the Teamsters left in July 2005. UFCW left in August 2005. UNITE HERE disaffiliated in September 2005. The Farm Workers disaffiliated on January 1, 2006. The Laborers left on May 21, 2006. See: Amber, Michelle and Bologna, Michael. "Departure of SEIU, Teamsters Creates Split Within AFL-CIO on Convention's Opening Day." Labor Relations Week. July 28, 2005; "UFCW Becomes Third Union to Leave AFL-CIO in One Week." Labor Relations Week. August 4, 2005; "UNITE HERE Disaffiliates From AFL-CIO, Citing Differences Over Organizing, Politics." Labor Relations Week. September 15, 2005; "Laborers Plan to Leave AFL-CIO." Wall Street Journal. September 24, 2005; "Organized Labor Fails to Heal Rift." Associated Press. April 25, 2006; "Laborers Union Breaks Free From AFL-CIO." Associated Press. May 22, 2006.
- "Carpenters Joins Five AFL-CIO Unions in Coalition to Rebuild Labor Movement." Labor Relations Week. June 30, 2005.
- "Union of California School Workers Votes for AFL-CIO Affiliation." Associated Press. August 1, 2001.
- Greenhouse, Steven. "California: Nurses' Union Joins A.F.L.-C.I.O." New York Times. March 10, 2007.
- Greenhouse, Steve. "Union Dissidents Vote to Secede and Realign." New York Times. March 23, 2009; Greenhouse, Steven. "Infighting Distracts Unions at Crucial Time." New York Times. July 8, 2009.
- Greenhouse, Steve. "Union Rejoining A.F.L.-C.I.O." New York Times. September 17, 2009; Stutz, Howard. "Culinary Parent UNITE HERE Rejoins AFL-CIO, Ending Four-Year Separation." Las Vegas Review-Journal. September 18, 2009.
- Trottman, Melanie. "LIUNA Move to Rejoin AFL-CIO Is Win for Trumka." Wall Street Journal. August 16, 2010.
- "AFL-CIO Wins Back United Food and Commercial Workers." Wall Street Journal. August 8, 2013.
- Jamieson, Dave. "NFL Players Union Rejoins AFL-CIO." Huffington Post. August 29, 2011. Accessed 2013-09-01.
- Massey, Daniel. "City Taxi Drivers' Organization Joins AFL-CIO." Crain's New York Business. October 20, 2011. Accessed 2013-09-01.
- "Longshore Union Pulls Out of National AFL-CIO." Associated Press. August 31, 2013. Accessed 2013-08-31.
- Article III: Affiliates. Constitution of the AFL-CIO. Accessed 2009-09-19.
- Article III, Section 1, Constitution of the AFL-CIO.
- Article III, Section 4(a), Constitution of the AFL-CIO.
- Article III, Section 5, Constitution of the AFL-CIO.
- Article III, Section 7, Constitution of the AFL-CIO.
- Article X, Section 8, Constitution of the AFL-CIO.
- Article X, Section 17, Constitution of the AFL-CIO.
- Article III, Section 8, Constitution of the AFL-CIO.
- "AFL-CIO Leaders Endorse Plan to Create Coordinating Bodies for Contracts, Organizing." Labor Relations Week. July 14, 2005; "Executive Council Approves Plan, Budget to Increase Support for Organizing, Politics." Labor Relations Week. June 30, 2005.
- Article IV: Convention. Constitution of the AFL-CIO. Accessed 2009-09-19.
- Article X: Executive Council. Constitution of the AFL-CIO. Accessed 2009-09-19.
- Article XI: General Board. Constitution of the AFL-CIO. Accessed 2009-09-19.
- Unions of the AFL-CIO, at the AFL-CIO official Web site