Conclusion: The AFL-CIO
STATEMENT FROM CLAYOLA BROWN, SR. ADVISOR FOR STRATEGIC & RACIAL JUSTICE, AFL-CIO FOR THE EXHIBIT ON CIVIL RIGHTS AND LABOR
“Two Movements - One Goal”
In his 1961 address to the fourth AFL-CIO national convention, Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of the shared goals of the civil rights and labor movements. He emphasized that both African Americans and union members were fighting for “decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children, and respect in the community.”
Since the 1955 merger of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), the AFL-CIO has been an ally of civil rights organizations. It is a democratically-governed federation of sixty unions representing more than 12.5 million working people. More than half of these unions have established civil rights, legislative, and political directors who oversee their unions’ policies on civil rights. The AFL-CIO continues to align itself with progressive organizations who help advance social and economic justice. These groups include the faith community and constituency associations that represent the diverse body of the AFL-CIO, such as the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI); Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA); Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU); Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW); Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA); and Pride at Work (PRIDE@WORK).
America’s legacy of racism, exclusion, and injustice continues to obstruct working people’s efforts to act together to build better lives. But the labor movement aspires to include all working people, irrespective of race, gender, nationality, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.