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NALC:
Part of the American labor movement
FOUNDED 1889
CHARTERED MEMBER OF AFL-CIO 1917
AFFILIATED WITH INTERNATIONAL LABOR SINCE 1950

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President Rolando elected to AFL-CIO executive committee

NALC President Fredric V. Rolando was elected as a vice president of the AFL-CIO and a member of the federation’s executive council during a council meeting July 28, 2009.

The action followed the resignation of William H. Young, retired former NALC president.

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NALC and the American Labor Movement

NALC members share a common bond with the wider American labor movement. In recognition of that bond, NALC affiliated with the American Federation of Labor (AFL) in 1917. When the AFL merged with the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in 1955, the AFL-CIO became our nation's largest and most important labor institution, and remains so today. NALC's voluntary affiliation entitles letter carriers to a voice in federation affairs. However, it does not affect NALC's independence. NALC remains an autonomous union, accountable to members alone.

NALC proudly shares in the tasks of the AFL-CIO. Representing workers in some 52 unions, the federation fights for the united interests of all our country's workers. Under AFL-CIO leadership, American workers have won minimum wage legislation, protections against discrimination on the job, occupational health and safety laws, unemployment, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits, and countless additional milestones.

Through NALC's AFL-CIO affiliation, letter carriers join some 9 million fellow workers in the struggle for a better life for all Americans. But dedication to the labor movement does not stop at the United States' borders. Through the AFL-CIO, the NALC also expresses its concern and commitment to improving the condition of working brothers and sisters throughout the world.

NALC President Fredric V. Rolando is a vice president of the AFL-CIO, and has served on the executive council of the labor federation since July 2009.

Delegates to the NALC National Conventions elect NALC members to serve as the union's AFL-CIO Delegates. In addition to these delegates, NALC's President and Secretary-Treasurer serve as delegates to the AFL-CIO convention by virtue of their office as prescribed in the NALC Constitution.

NALC's AFL-CIO DELEGATION

Fredric V. Rolando, NALC President

Jane E. Broendel, NALC Secretary-Treasurer

Ingrid Armada, Providence, RI Branch 15

Denise Brooks, Medford, OR Branch 1433

Lloyd Doucet Jr., New Orleans Branch 124

Elise M. Foster, Chicago Branch 11

Anita Guzik, Los Angeles Branch 24

Stephen Hanna, York, PA Branch 509

Charles Heege, New York Branch 36

 

To find out more about the federation's activities or websites of other affiliated unions, visit the AFL-CIO website.

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NALC's affiliation with the AFL
(excerpt from NALC's history, Carriers In a Common Cause,
© 2006 National Association of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO)

NALC's AFL-CIO charter

NALC's Certificate of Affiliation with the AFL, signed by Samuel Gompers

In the early 1900s, a major debate was taking place within the NALC: Should the NALC affiliate with the American Federation of Labor?

The debate over affiliation began at the turn of the century. When a committee appointed by NALC's 1903 national convention reported back to delegates two years later, it recommended against affiliation, fearful that the Federation's priorities might begin to take precedence over those of letter carriers. In 1914, when the question was once again raised, many carriers were worried about the strike issue. Unfamiliar with the goals and structure of the AFL, many carriers wrongly believed that the AFL leaders could order a strike, forcing them to defy the no-strike amendment of 1912. Other carriers feared affiliation with the AFL would diminish the NALC's own identity. Still others believed the NALC could take care of itself and need not affiliate with any other organization. And undoubtedly a great number of letter carriers, still bruised and nervous after more that ten years of the gag, were simply not ready for affiliation with the broader labor movement. [NB: The "gag" orders forbade all postal and federal employees, "directly or indirectly, individually or through associations," to solicit members of Congress for wage increases or to try to influence the passage of any other legislation—except through the heads of their Department. The order, an attempt to muzzle or gag organizations like the NALC, effectively deprived government workers of their Constitutional rights to speak freely and to petition the government.]

Not surprisingly, then, when a referendum vote on the question was finally tallied in August of 1914, 18,769 letter carriers voted against and 3,968 voted for affiliation.

Yet by 1917, when the issue arose again, the tone of the debate was very different. Letter carriers demonstrated more awareness of the strong connection—and the importance of the connection—between the history of letter carriers and that of the rest of the labor movement. One carrier used the pages of The Postal Record to remind NALC members of the nationwide campaign for an eight-hour day in the late 1880's:

The first 8-hour law for letter carriers was approved May 24, 1888, a year before the NALC was organized. The streets of many a mill town have run red with the blood of wage workers [so] that we [letter carriers] of today might enjoy an 8-hour day.

The 664 delegates to the national convention in Dallas in September were obviously moved by the same sentiments. When President Gainor recommended that the affiliation issue be submitted to a referendum by the membership, delegate after delegate arose, pleading instead for an immediate vote on the issue. A carrier from New Orleans forcefully expressed the majority's view on affiliation:

I believe the only real relief we can find is by affiliating with other men laboring by the sweat of their brow, men who have united for their own protection and that protection can only be secured through direct and immediate affiliation with the American Federation of Labor.

Moved by these impassioned pleas, the convention suspended its rules and, by a voice vote, the delegates directed the Secretary of the NALC to affiliate immediately with the AFL, which the union did on September 20, 1917.

When the convention's action was tested in a nationwide referendum in early 1918, 92 percent of the NALC membership voted for affiliation—in startling contrast to 83 percent against it in 1914. What accounted for this dramatic turnaround? The question can be answered in three words: Postmaster General [Albert S.] Burleson. [Burleson served from 1913 to 1921.] His anti-worker policies convinced carriers that in 1917, as in the past, they needed the protection and support of the rest of the labor movement.

Note: In 1955 the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Congress of Industrial Workers (CIO) merged to become the AFL-CIO and unanimously elected George Meany president, a post he held until retiring in 1979 at the age of 85. With the merger, NALC became affiliated with the new AFL-CIO and from the very beginning took a leadership role in the new federation—an unbroken role that continues today.

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© National Association of Letter Carriers, AFL-CIO