AFL-CIOThe odds of two organizations with mouthfuls of names, The American Federation of Labor and The Congress of Industrial Organizations changing the world? Pretty good, which is why we celebrate


The AFL-CIO is a federation of 57 different national and international trade unions representing 11 million workers, formed in 1955 of many early unions who pioneered the Labor Revolution in America, many of them former rivals, and now united allies.

That’s a lot of organizational clout, the kind of collective bargaining strength that helped lift American workers to an unprecedented measure of prosperity, safety and security.

All workers, whether union members or not, owe a debt to labor unions for the 8 hour day, the 5-day workweek, overtime pay, vacation and sick days, Workers’ Compensation Insurance, Unemployment Insurance and job safety regulations.

These concessions were hard won with blood and suffering, and the high tide of the union movement was a high tide of shared prosperity and opportunity for all American workers.

In recent decades, ownership has attacked American workers’ hard-won gains over and over, reversing the growth of prosperity, shrinking the middle class, and slashing wages and benefits. The Labor War is far from over, and today we declare our allegiance to the productive many over the privileged few. Whose side are you on?

•Suggested Activities: Looking for the Union Label, wishing the AFL-CIO a happy 68th birthday.

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