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November 8, 2017

Among the labor leaders who founded the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) on this date in 1935 (the announcement was made November 9th) were Sidney Hillman of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, David Dubinsky of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, and Max Zaritsky of the Hatters, Cap and Millinery Workers. The CIO was more militant than the American Federation of Labor (AFL), from which it split off; the CIO generally accepted African-American workers into its ranks, and did not shun communists and other radicals, at least until after World War II. The two labor federations came back together in 1955 to create the AFL-CIO.

“Union wages [in 2007] are 30 percent higher than non-unionized employees. Guaranteed pensions cover 68 percent of union members but only 14 percent of non-members. Female union workers wages are 33 percent higher than non-union. Minority groups, depending on the minority, earn from 4 percent to 51 percent more than counterparts in non-unionized companies.” —U.S. Department of Labor statistics