Executive Council Statement | Infrastructure

Union Cities: Building Communities That Respect Work and Strengthen Families

Los Angeles, CA

The AFL-CIO, along with its international and national union affiliates, state federations and local labor councils, embarked on an ambitious program to strengthen the American union movement in 1997. Union Cities challenged local labor movements to rally around a common agenda of supporting organizing, taking grassroots political action, building community-labor alliances, demanding diversity, training a new generation of local labor council leadership, and raising a public voice for working families.

Over the last four years, 164 labor councils in 48 states have adopted the Union Cities strategies to build stronger unions, stronger labor councils and stronger communities. Labor councils have reordered their priorities to support organizing and created a new culture in local union movements to mobilize around the critical struggles faced by national affiliates and local unions.

Central labor councils on the road to Union Cities have now created high standards for which their work can be evaluated by the Executive Council and that serve as an example for local union communities. These standards include promoting our Voice@Work campaign, strengthening efforts to use our political strength to support organizing, building coalitions with people of faith, civil rights and women's organization, and concrete improvements in diversity of labor council committees and bodies.

In 2001, the Executive Council challenges these councils to deepen their commitment to this work. We will salute their achievements by declaring certain labor councils as Union Cities at the Federation's Biennial Convention this fall and recognize successful individual program work. Labor councils will be nominated at www.workingfamilies.com by May 1st, 2001. Labor councils nominated will be announced in America@Work. The AFL-CIO Executive Council will review nominated communities, and a national tour for the Officers through the final cities will begin in summer of 2001. Union Cities designees will be eligible for "rewards" to help support their programs and to set an example for other local union movements.

The AFL-CIO Executive Council urges national affiliates and local unions to support and participate in the Union Cities campaign. Building Union Cities in communities across America provides critical support for the labor movement to achieve the goals we share for good jobs, a better quality of life, and a powerful voice for working families on the job and in the community.