National AFL-CIO Day – December 5, 2022

National AFL-CIO Day is on December 5, marking the organization’s establishment. They work hard to guarantee that all workers are treated properly, with adequate wages and benefits, safe jobs, dignity, and equal opportunity. Their work is centered on ensuring that everyone who works for a living can support their families and retire with dignity. They support legislation that invests tax resources in schools, roads, bridges, ports, and airports and improves workers’ lives via education, job training, and a reasonable minimum wage. They argue for the strengthening of social security and private pensions, the implementation of equitable tax policies, and the availability of high-quality, affordable healthcare.

History of National AFL-CIO Day

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (A.F.L.-CIO) has a long history of involvement in civil rights movements. The CIO’s readiness to accept Black employees was one of the critical sources of dispute between the A.F.L. and the CIO, particularly after the CIO’s split. Later, Blacks would accuse the CIO of forsaking their interests, especially after the merger with the A.F.L.

Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech to the organization’s conference in Bal Harbour, Florida, in 1961, titled “If the Negro Wins, Labor Wins.” King dreamed of a partnership between civil rights and labor that would better a lot of the whole working class by ending racial discrimination. However, King chastised the A.F.L.-CIO for tolerating unions that excluded Black employees.

With the formation of the New Unity Partnership (N.U.P.), a loose alliance of some of the A.F.L.-major CIO’s unions, the A.F.L.-CIO launched a heated internal discussion over the future of the labor movement in the U.S. in 2003. This issue heated up in 2004, following the defeat of labor-backed candidate John Kerry in the November 2004 United States presidential election.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (I.L.W.U.) left the A.F.L.-CIO in August 2013. The I.L.W.U. claimed that members of other A.F.L.-CIO unions were crossing its picket lines and that the A.F.L.-CIO did nothing to stop it. The A.F.L.’s readiness for CIOs to compromise on crucial matters such as labor law reform, immigration reform, and healthcare reform was also noted by the I.L.W.U. The Dockers’ Union announced its intention to establish an independent union.

National AFL-CIO Day timeline

1955
The Organization is Founded

On December 5, the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (A.F.L.-CIO) is founded.

1961
King’s Speech

King delivers a speech at the organization's conference in Florida titled "If the Negro Wins, Labor Wins."

2003
Issue of the Labor's Future

The A.F.L.-CIO launches a heated internal discussion over the future of the labor movement in the United States

2013
The I.L.W.U. Leaves the A.F.L.–CIO

In August, the I.L.W.U. claims that members of other A.F.L.–CIO unions were crossing its picket lines and that the A.F.L.–CIO did nothing to stop it.

National AFL-CIO Day FAQs

What is the most important civil right?

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The legislation prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin. It has been referred to as the most important civil rights statute in the United States since Reconstruction.

What is a personal achievement at work?

Personal achievement is often quantitative evidence of your best talents and abilities. To provide the hiring manager or employer examining your credentials with real evidence of the type of employee you will be.

What is a simple definition of ‘union’?

A union is a group of employees from the same company or industry who band together to bargain collectively with their employers.

How to Observe National AFL-CIO Day

  1. Learn about your rights as a union member

    The A.F.L.-CIO website has information about your rights to fair treatment at work and other issues related to being a member of a union. You can also learn about your rights if you're considering joining a union or leaving one by reading "Your Rights in Unions."

  2. Get involved with local labor unions

    Many local unions offer volunteer opportunities for members who want to get involved in their communities outside of work hours and volunteer at food banks or shelters during holidays or weekends.

  3. Gather with your family and friends

    As you go through your day today, we invite you to celebrate this day by gathering with your family and friends to share stories about how unions have helped improve our lives.

5 Facts About Workers’ Rights You Have To Know

  1. Protected under N.L.R.A.

    Workers’ Rights are protected under the National Labor Relations Act (N.L.R.A.).

  2. Freedom of association

    Freedom of association is the right to join a trade union or other association to protect your interests; however, it can be restricted in some circumstances, for example, when an employer can demonstrate that it would seriously disrupt business operations.

  3. Employers must not discriminate against employees

    Employers must not discriminate against employees or potential employees for their gender, race, disability, or any other factor unrelated to their ability to perform well on the job, including indirect discrimination.

  4. Child labor

    In 2008, 217 million children aged five to 17 worked in child labor worldwide.

  5. Discrimination of women's wages

    Women's nominal wages are around 20% lower than men's.

Why National AFL-CIO Day is Important

  1. It highlights workers' rights

    The A.F.L.-CIO has been instrumental in advancing worker safety laws across the country, including efforts to increase workplace safety inspections and eliminate exposure to dangerous chemicals such as asbestos and silica dust. It also supports efforts to improve health and retirement benefits for workers.

  2. It celebrates workers' achievements

    It's an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of working people. By celebrating achievements, we can be more motivated by what is being done and what will be done in the future.

  3. It remembers history

    It's an opportunity to remember our history and learn from it. There are valuable lessons to be learned from it. Those who choose to ask the correct questions about their history are most equipped to enjoy life fully in the present.

National AFL-CIO Day dates

YearDateDay
2022December 5Monday
2023December 5Tuesday
2024December 5Thursday
2025December 5Friday
2026December 5Saturday

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