American labor unions originally formed in 2005 as an alternative to the AFL-CIO. From a high of over 30 percent in the 1950s, win affiliates proportion of American workers who were union members had plunged to 12 percent in the year 2000, and only 8 percent of private sector employees.
Of the NUP members, the SEIU, with its president Andy Stern, was the most vocal proponent of change in the labor movement. The current president is Mary Kay Henry. At the union’s 2004 convention, Stern declared that workers should reform the AFL-CIO or «build something stronger. Change to Win, which introduced a program for reform of the AFL-CIO. Working people, including current union members, cannot win consistently without uniting millions more workers in unions.
Every worker in America has the right to a union that has the focus, strategy, and resources to unite workers in that industry and win. Among the coalition’s proposals to achieve these objectives was encouraging unions to organize on an industry-wide basis, consolidating smaller unions within a few large unions, providing financial incentives to AFL-CIO member unions that channel resources to organizing new members and spending more money on organizing as opposed to electoral politics. The new union’s members were largely service sector unions which represented large numbers of women, immigrants and people of color, as opposed to the manufacturing unions which formed the basis of labor’s strength for many years. In July 2005, Change to Win elected SEIU secretary-treasurer Anna Burger as chair and UNITE HERE Executive Vice-President Edgar Romney as Treasurer. In the summer of 2009, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters disaffiliated from Change to Win. After a bitter and divisive internal battle, a third of the members of UNITE HERE left that union and joined SEIU. The remaining 265,000 members of UNITE HERE reaffiliated with the AFL-CIO on September 16, 2009.
The Laborers’ International Union of North America said it would also leave Change to Win and rejoin the AFL-CIO on August 13, 2010. LIUNA officials did not immediately explain their reasons, but AFL-CIO officials said the reaffiliation would be formalized in October 2010. On August 8, 2013, the United Food and Commercial Workers announced that they would be leaving Change to Win and re-affiliating with the AFL-CIO. On January 9, 2009, national news media reported that the five of the seven CtW unions had met with seven of the largest unions in the AFL-CIO in talks which explored the possibility of the five CtW unions rejoining the larger labor federation.
A number of major issues were discussed in the opening round of talks. One major point of discussion revolved around who would lead any reunited federation. AFL-CIO President John Sweeney was widely expected to retire at the trade union center’s August 2009 convention, and Laborer’s president Terence O’Sullivan and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka had been discussed as his successors. The talks drew some limited criticism from members of the labor movement for not addressing issues of union democracy.
Change to Win has focused its resources on organizing workers into unions. CtW’s resources and budget to be allocated to organizing programs. CtW and its affiliate unions have run several campaigns to organize workers in industries considered «core» to CtW unions. Make Work Pay: Make Work Pay is a general organizing campaign aimed at improving wages and working conditions for working people. Justice at Smithfield: Organizes workers at Smithfield Foods pork-packing plants. Smithfield has been accused of human rights violations for its treatment of workers by international human rights group Human Rights Watch.
Wal-Mart Campaign: Organizes workers in Wal-Mart stores. Driving Up Standards Together: Organizes school bus drivers and monitors across the country. Uniform Justice: Organizes employees of Cintas, North America’s most profitable uniform and laundry company. Justice for Port Truck Drivers: Justice for Port Truck Drivers is a campaign of over 75,000 truck drivers organizing for fairness in the port trucking industry by calling on elected government and port officials to enforce labor laws and to protect the public’s interest. Good Jobs Nation: Good Jobs Nation is a campaign of low-wage workers who serve America through federal contracts, concessions and leases with private businesses.