High-level sources within the AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions tell Working In These Times that the 1.3-million-member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) is in talks to rejoin the labor federation. These sources say that UFCW leaders have pledged their support for returning to the AFL-CIO and will ask members to vote on the question at the annual UFCW convention in Chicago this August. With the leadership backing reunification, the UFCW membership is expected to approve the motion.
In 2005, the UFCW and several other large unions—the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the United Brotherhood Of Carpenters, the Laborers’ Union, Unite Here and the United Farm Workers of America—split off from the AFL-CIO to form a rival federation, Change to Win. At the time, the unions said they were departing in order to explore new ways of organizing.
Elk also notes
But the defection of the 1.3 million-member UFCW would be by far the biggest loss of membership yet for the fledgling Change to Win. It raises the question of whether or not any of the remaining members—the SEIU, the Teamsters or the United Farmworkers—will enter talks with the AFL-CIO. None of the three unions returned requests for comment for this article.
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