- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 12, 2006

The United Farm Workers of America quietly pulled out of the AFL-CIO labor federation last week.

The union’s board of directors voted last month to leave the federation effective Jan. 1, and they notified AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney in a letter dated Jan. 4.

The farmworkers decided July 22 to join the Change to Win Federation, a group of dissident unions that left the AFL-CIO because they disagreed with Mr. Sweeney’s policies. But the farmworkers union maintained membership in both labor groups.

“This reflects a commitment to Change to Win,” United Farm Workers spokesman Marc Grossman said.

Cesar Chavez founded the farmworkers in 1966. The union, based in Keene, Calif., has just 27,000 members.

“We obviously regret their decision to leave because there’s a lot of history there. They have a proud legacy,” AFL-CIO spokeswoman Denise Mitchell said.

It is the fifth union to leave the AFL-CIO since last summer for the Change to Win Federation, which has seven members.

The Laborers International Union remains a member of both labor groups, and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America left the AFL-CIO in 2001.

Unions in the Change to Win Federation represent 5.8 million workers. The AFL-CIO represents 53 unions with 9 million members.

The new Change to Win Federation hopes to reverse a long decline in the labor movement through aggressive organizing campaigns.

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