Teamsters Chief James Hoffa pledges to continue to work with the building trades members following Withdrawal of Teamsters from AFL-CIO.
(Photo courtesy of Teamsters Union)

The decision by the teamsters’ union to leave the AFL-CIO means that the construction division of the 1.3-million-member union can no longer be affiliated with the labor federation’s Building and Construction Trades Dept.

The AFL-CIO constitution requires federation membership for a union to participate in one of its departments. The teamsters and the service employees unions both formally withdrew from the AFL-CIO July 25 during the federation’s convention. The day before, both unions announced they would boycott the convention.

Nevertheless, teamsters’ President James P. Hoffa said at a July 25 news conference that “we will continue to work with our brothers and sisters in the building trades, in state federations and central labor councils to achieve justice for all working people.”
Hoffa added that he would like to remain in BCTD “if they will let us.” He acknowledged that he does not think the union will be able to stay in the building trades. “If they choose to throw us out, that is their decision,” he said.

“The rules are what the rules are,” said one building trades source.

The teamsters, service employees and five other unions have formed the Change to Win Coalition. Through the new coalition, leaders of the dissident unions assert they will design more successful ways to organize workers and meet the 21st century needs of workers.