This LIUNA photo shows its general president, who said five years of participation in the Change to Win Coalition were essential for building its organizing and research.

Laborers' Union Rejoins AFL-CIO

It was one of the five large unions to join the Change to Win Coalition in 2005, targeting high-growth occupations in the U.S. economy, including health care, transportation, and hospitality.

The Laborers' International Union of North America, LIUNA, is rejoining the AFL-CIO effective Oct. 1 after its general executive board unanimously voted for the reaffiliation, General President Terence O'Sullivan announced. In a LIUNA statement, he said the union's five years of participation in the Change to Win Coalition were essential for building its organizing and research.

"Now more than ever, working people and our country need a united union movement," O'Sullivan said. "Despite the historic success of the 2008 federal elections, too much is not getting done on Capitol Hill. A united union movement can better focus Congress, and particularly the U.S. Senate, on helping to lead our nation, rather than being locked in inaction."

The Laborers' Health and Safety Fund of North America should be well known to safety professionals, especially construction safety professionals. Its research unit has worked on health evaluations of World Trade Center recovery workers; its occupational safety and health director, Scott Schneider, CIH, an AIHA Fellow who has served on OSHA's Advisory Committee for Construction Safety and Health (ACCSH) and on the NIOSH Board of Scientific Counselors.

AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka said Aug. 16 he is pleased to have LIUNA back in the fold. "We are very happy that LIUNA is rejoining the AFL-CIO at a critical moment for working people. Union members, like all working families, have been hard hit by a brutal economy and decades of policies that have undermined the middle class," Trumka said. "More than ever, now is the moment for a unified labor movement. And as we rebuild and strengthen the labor movement, we will work together to create good jobs, restore a middle-class economy, and elect leaders who stand with working people. Together, brick by brick, we will build an economy that works for everyone."

Change to Win represents 5.5 million workers. Its five major unions are the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, LIUNA, the Service Employees International Union, the United Farm Workers of America, and the United Food and Commercial Workers. Five days ago, on Aug. 11, Change to Win's chair, Anna Burger, announced her retirement. Burger also is secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees.

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