AFL-CIO to cut staff and programs as membership and revenues decrease

The AFL-CIO, the largest US union federation is cutting support for some programs and dismissing dozens of staff members. The restructuring move is being made as union membership declines and there are fresh threats to labor rights.

AFL-CIO spokesperson, Josh Goldstein refused to discuss the exact number of staff affected but said: “We will have to end support for some programs that don’t go to our core priorities. This is about reimagining and realigning our core priorities to best serve our affiliates.” The employees dismissed included both union members and managers. Reports indicate several dozen employees were dismissed. At their last filing the AFL-CIO had around 400 employees. Wikipedia says of the AFL-CIO:
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO) is a national trade union center and the largest federation of unions in the United States. It is made up of fifty-six national and international unions,[3] together representing more than 12 million active and retired workers.[1] The AFL–CIO engages in substantial political spending and activism.[3]
As discussed in a recent Digital Journal article, after a series of successful moves against labor such as an increase in the number of states with right-to-work laws, the percentage of US workers in unions has dropped to 10.7 percent, the lowest level ever and less than half what it was in 1983. The revenue of unions is dropping and with the new Trump administration things could get even worse. Restructuring is expected to be a major topic of discussion when the AFL-CIO executive council meets next month in Texas. There have been disputes within the organization as to what priorities should be for the group. Some suggest promoting pro-union politicians and policies, others want to support unionization campaigns and contract bargaining.
This is not the first time the AFL-CIO has faced cutting staff. In 2005 the group reduced its staff by a 25 percent. The AFL-CIO has been in decline for some time. In 1995 the group's reserve fund was $61 million but by 2005 it was just about half that at $31 million.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) the second largest union in the US with about 2 million members, announced last December that it would be trimming its budget by 30 percent. The group has organized the "Fight for $15" movement. It represents a wide range of workers, including government and health care workers. It has an annual budget of about $300 million.
SEIU President Mary Henry wrote in an internal memo last December: “Because the far right will control all three branches of the federal government, we will face serious threats to the ability of working people to join together in unions. These threats require us to make tough decisions that allow us to resist these attacks and to fight forward despite dramatically reduced resources.”


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