This is a significant development, particularly in light of the UFCW’s major organizing work around Walmart and their interest in expanding retail worker organizing. My personal hope is that the Walmart campaign will actually become THE campaign of the union movement and of all those committed to economic justice.
Here’s the statement:
For Immediate Release: August 8, 2013
UNITED FOOD AND COMMERCIAL WORKERS UNION JOINS AFL-CIO
(Chicago, Illinois) – Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW)<http://www.ufcw.org/> affiliated with the AFL-CIO in a bold move toward a stronger, more unified labor movement. UFCW President Joe Hansen, supported by a vote of the UFCW Executive Board, decided to add the 1.3 million private sector members to the AFL-CIO federation in order to build a stronger, more unified voice for the rights of workers.
UFCW International President Joe Hansen today released the following statement:
“We join the AFL-CIO because it is the right thing to do for UFCW members, giving them more power and influence. This is not about which building in Washington D.C. we call home — it is about fostering more opportunities for workers to have a true voice on the job. It is about joining forces to build a more united labor movement that can fight back against the corporate and political onslaught facing our members each and every day.
“Our affiliation with the Change to Win Federation (CTW) has been a rewarding one. The CTW’s Strategic Organizing Center (SOC) is leading some of the best campaigns to give workers rights and dignity. While no longer an affiliate of CTW, we continue our strong relationships with the Teamsters, SEIU and the Farmworkers. We will remain active in the SOC and bring our AFL-CIO partners into collaboration with private-sector unions in an effort to build more power for workers.
“The need for unity became paramount after the 2010 elections. The attacks on workers brought the UFCW into direct strategic partnership with the AFL-CIO and the entire labor movement. Our shared campaign revealed a dynamic and revitalized AFL-CIO and made it clear that it was time for the UFCW to redouble our efforts to build a more robust and unified labor movement.
“I respect Rich Trumka’s bold leadership of the AFL-CIO and his strategic advocacy on key issues like the urgent need to pass comprehensive immigration reform, fix the Affordable Care Act so workers in multiemployer plans can keep the health care they currently have, and ensure the National Labor Relations Board protects workers’ rights. The UFCW is proud to affiliate with a transparent, strategic and innovative AFL-CIO – an AFL-CIO committed to bringing a union voice on the job to millions of workers from coast to coast.”
Today’s announcement comes as the UFCW Executive Board meets in preparation for its 7th Regular Convention<http://www.ufcwconvention.org/> which calls to order Monday, August 12 in Chicago, Illinois.
UFCW delegates representing local unions in the U.S. and Canada will chart a course for the next five years and beyond that aims to raise standards and build power for workers in the grocery, retail and food manufacturing industries. Inspired by the theme, “Blue. Gold. Bold. Powerful Together,” UFCW delegates will deliberate on taking steps to strengthen the UFCW’s strong base of member activists who are the backbone of creative organizing campaigns, engaged bargaining programs and political activism.