Talks Taking Place Between AFL-CIO, UFCW On Reaffiliation, but No Agreement Reached

Michelle Amber
BNA Daily Labor Report
July 11, 2013
View the original piece

Unity talks currently are taking place between the AFL-CIO and the United Food and Commercial Workers, but no agreement has been reached for UFCW to reaffiliate with the federation, a UFCW spokeswoman told BNA July 10.

Asked about news reports that delegates to UFCW's convention in Chicago next month will be asked to vote on reaffiliation with the federation, UFCW spokeswoman Jill Cashen told BNA that President Joe Hansen has advocated for reunification for many years in many forums. While unity talks are ongoing, Cashen said, “there is nothing to announce today.”

When asked July 10 about the news reports, an AFL-CIO spokeswoman deferred to UFCW.

Several labor sources told BNA that an agreement on reaffiliation is “close,” but final details have to be worked out. Whether a deal can be reached by the time the UFCW convention opens Aug. 12 remains to be seen.

In 2005, UFCW was one of seven unions that disaffiliated from the AFL-CIO to form the Change to Win Federation (146 DLR AA-1, 8/1/05).

In addition to UFCW, those unions included the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Service Employees International Union, UNITE HERE, the Laborers' International Union of North America, the United Farm Workers, and the Carpenters and Joiners of America, which disaffiliated from the AFL-CIO in 2001.

At the time of the split, the CTW unions said the labor movement needed to put more emphasis on organizing rather than politics. Officials on both sides also attributed the split to a dispute over who would control and lead the federation (142 DLR AA-1, 7/26/05).

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka has made reunifying the labor movement a top priority of his administration since he was first elected in 2009 (130 DLR A-11, 7/10/09).

Since then, two of the seven Change to Win unions have reaffiliated with the AFL-CIO. UNITE HERE rejoined the AFL-CIO in September 2009 (179 DLR C-1, 9/18/09), while the Laborers rejoined the AFL-CIO in October 2010 (157 DLR A-11, 8/16/10). The Carpenters stopped giving per capita payments to CTW in November 2008, but never announced its disaffiliation from the federation until queried by BNA in September 2009 (174 DLR A-5, 9/11/09). It remains an independent union.

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