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Department & Division News

The Importance of AFL-CIO Federation Affiliation

Affiliating with the AFL-CIO state federations and AFL-CIO Central Labor Councils isn’t just the right thing to do — it is essential in our fight to save the United States Postal Service and to protect our jobs. 

Affiliation gives local leaders and members an opportunity to meet and interact with labor allies.  Wherever our members live and work, each APWU affiliate needs to be an active participant — a real member — of the AFL-CIO local labor councils and state federations.

The APWU National Executive Board shows our support for the labor movement by fully participating with the AFL-CIO in Washington DC and by encouraging support for state federations and CLCs.

The APWU currently pays national “per capita dues” for 100 percent of our members to the national AFL-CIO. And in an effort to help more APWU locals and states to affiliate with state federations, as well as ease the financial burden, the NEB unanimously passed a resolution at the 18th Biennial National Convention that reads: The National APWU will refund to APWU affiliates 50 percent of the per capita tax paid to a state AFL-CIO Federation by all APWU affiliates that are affiliated with their AFL-CIO State Federation. [Click here to download the State Federation Dues Rebate Request Instructions and Form - PDF]

For more information and to become a member of your state federation or Central Labor Council, call the AFL-CIO Office of State and Local Affiliates at 202-637-5280, or complete an Application for Affiliation [PDF] and submit it to your state federation or Central Labor Council.

Together we can make a difference and provide a better future for labor in this country.

What are State Federations?

AFL-CIO state federations bring various unions together at the state level to work collectively on organizing new members, education, mobilizing current members, creating a powerful voice for working families.  State federations make up the backbone of the labor movement’s efforts to ensure that economic, education, health care and other policies benefit working families.

What do they do?

State labor federations give working families a voice:

  • On the job.   Working together through “state feds,” local unions support one another’s organizing campaigns and contract bargaining.  Coordinating with a network of local labor councils located in communities throughout each state, state feds turn out large groups of working people to support union members and challenge anti-union, anti-worker employers.  State feds forge alliances that build statewide support for union members’ efforts to win positive changes on the job and retain past gains.
     
  • In state and federal political campaigns.  State feds endorse candidates for state and federal office, and coordinate the union movement’s statewide political mobilization efforts, including voter registration, worksite leafleting, and neighborhood canvassing.
     
  • In state and federal government.  State feds provide working families with the information and opportunities they need to make their voices heard by state legislators and by members of Congress.  State feds engage union members in developing and promoting an agenda for good, secure jobs; job safety, adequate investments in such working family needs as education, health care, and retirement security; and against job-killing proposals like privatization of government services.
     
  • In the economy.  State feds give working families greater power to shape their economic well-being by mobilizing working people for social and economic justice, for fair treatment on the job, and for pro-worker government policies.  They also link local unions with the educational resources of the AFL-CIO, giving members the opportunity to learn more about today’s economy, why it favors the wealthy over working people – and what they can do about it.

How are they structured?

More than 30,000 local unions make up the 51 state federations (including Puerto Rico). While participation by locals in the semi-autonomous organizations chartered by the AFL-CIO is voluntary, the national labor federation strongly encourages all unions to build stronger state labor movements through full affiliation and participation.

State labor federations are comprised of local union unions and other eligible subordinate bodies of the national and international unions that are affiliated with the AFL-CIO.  Certain eligible unions may affiliate by receiving a charter through the Solidarity Charter Program.  Other unions may receive a certificate of affiliation as a direct local affiliate through the Unity Partnerships Program, and local associations of the National Education Association may join by receiving a certificate of affiliation through the AFL-CIO/NEA Labor Solidarity Partnerships.

Representatives of state federations serve on a national advisory committee appointed by the AFL-CIO president.  The State Federation and Central Labor Council Advisory Committee meets twice a year to consider and recommend initiatives and programs to the federation.  State federations are governed by elected, full-time executive officers and executive boards representing affiliated local unions.

What are Central Labor Councils?

AFL-CIO central labor councils bring different unions together in communities to work collectively on organizing new members, educating and mobilizing current members, and creating a powerful voice for working families.  CLCs comprise the grassroots network of the labor movement’s effort to ensure that economic, education, health care and other policies benefit working families.

What do they do?

Central labor councils give working families a voice:

  • On the job.   Working together through CLCs, local unions support one another’s organizing campaigns and contract bargaining.  With “Street Heat” rapid-response teams, CLCs turn out large groups of working people to support union members and challenge anti-union, anti-worker employers.  CLCs forge community alliances that build support for union members’ efforts to win positive charges on the job and retain past gains.
     
  • In local and state politics.  CLCs endorse candidates for local office, make recommendations on state legislative candidate endorsements, and coordinate the local union movement’s political mobilization efforts, including voter registration, worksite leafleting, and neighborhood canvassing.
     
  • In local and state government.  CLCs provide working families with the information and opportunities they need to make their voices heard by local elected leaders and state legislators.  CLCs engage union members in developing and promoting an agenda for good, secure jobs; job safety; adequate investments in such working family needs as education, health care, retirement security; and against job-killing proposals like the privatization of government services.
     
  • In their communities.  An extensive network of community services staffers and volunteers works through CLCs to help union members in need of emergency assistance during family crises and natural disasters, plant closings and economic hardships.  CLCs strengthen communities in additional ways by linking labor with community and religious groups to tackle shared concerns, like supporting high-road economic developments that create good-paying jobs, and ensuring an adequate local revenue base for essential services such as education.
     
  • In the economy.  CLCs give working families greater power to shape their economic well-being by mobilizing working people for social and economic justice, for fair treatment on the job and for pro-worker government policies. CLCs also link local unions with the educational resources of the AFL-CIO, giving members the opportunity to learn more about today’s economy, why it favors the wealthy over working people — and what they can do about it.

How are they structured?

More than 30,000 local unions make up the 525 local labor councils across the nation. While participation by locals in the semi-autonomous organizations chartered by the AFL-CIO is voluntary, the federation strongly encourages all unions to build stronger local labor movements through full affiliation and participation.

Local labor federations are comprised of local unions and other eligible subordinate bodies of the national and international unions that are affiliated with the AFL-CIO. Certain eligible unions may affiliate by receiving a charter through the Solidarity Charter Program. Other unions may receive a certificate of affiliation as a direct local affiliate through the Unity Partnerships Program, and local associations of the National Education Association may join by receiving a certificate of affiliation through the AFL-CIO/NEA Labor Solidarity Partnership.

Representatives of central labor councils serve on a national advisory committee appointed by the AFL-CIO president. The State Federation and Central Labor Council Advisory Committee meets twice a year to consider and recommend initiatives and programs to the federation.  CLCs are governed by elected executive boards, with officers serving part-time or as volunteers in most small and medium-size communities. In larger cities, CLCs have full-time officers and staff.