Today it was announced that the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) have re-affiliated with the AFL-CIO. The UFCW’s executive board voted unanimously on the move earlier this week. One of the largest private-sector unions in the Country, the UFCW represents 1.3 million workers.
UFCW President Joe Hansen cited the current legislative attacks on workers since the 2010 elections as one of the compelling reasons for the move. “The attacks on workers brought the UFCW into direct strategic partnership with the AFL-CIO and the entire labor movement,” he said. “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.”
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka released the following statement this afternoon on their web site:
“Today’s decision by the UFCW to unite with the broader labor movement is great news for workers living in the ‘new normal’ of the low wage economy—working women, young part time workers, retail workers, immigrant workers and so many more. A stronger, more unified grassroots movement of working men and women is exactly what’s needed to raise wages for workers and rebuild an American middle class. Together we are stronger—it’s as simple as that. Together working people have a stronger voice and the power to defend their rights on the job. Together we have a stronger voice in the global economy—the power to counter the excesses of CEOs and the ravages of inequality.
What’s exciting is that many workers are already speaking out and taking action to build power together, so UFCW’s affiliation to build a stronger movement couldn’t be more timely.
This is a bold, important step by the UFCW. I have great respect for the members and leaders of UFCW— and especially for the innovative, courageous leadership of Joe Hansen. I look forward to a strong partnership that can make a real and growing difference for today’s workers.”
Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale and Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder welcomed today’s announcement.
“A stronger more unified national labor movement is what is needed to help raise the living standards of all workers and to rebuild the middle class. Together we have a stronger voice and the power to defend our rights on the job, counter the excesses of CEO’s, and the ravages of inequality,” Bloomingdale said.
“The UFCW never formally left the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO and have always been partners with the State Federation,” Snyder said. “Regardless of that, as Dr. King once said, there’s never a wrong time to do the right thing. Regardless of a union’s affiliation, when we are faced with attacks on the core issues of our membership, we will always stand side by side with workers. Privatization of any kind is just one of those issues we will oppose.”