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The Widening Split in the US Labor Movement and the AFL-CIO’s Increasing Complicity in US Imperialism

Since the beginning of November, the US labor movement has seen an active role played by many major unions in calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Over 80 locals from various unions including the APWU, NEA, and now the UAW on December 1st have all signed a petition led by the UE and UFCW local 3000. Many AFL-CIO affiliated unions’ rank and file membership have taken the lead in building a labor coalition on the issue of Israel/Palestine while leadership remain silent, or release milquetoast statements then proceed to ignore their own complicity in the history of US imperialism abroad. By refusing to take a stance and hold the Biden administration to any level of accountability, the AFL-CIO furthers the divide in the American labor movement.

Since the McCarthyite period of the 1950’s the AFL-CIO has taken an active role in regime change operations and worked with the US government in disrupting class-oriented labor movements that would prove detrimental to American business interests. From colluding with Pinochet against the Allende government in Chile, to creating the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) to support the government’s anti-communist policies abroad, to playing an active role in the Maidan coup in Ukraine the organization has taken an active role against progressive labor movements around the globe. Working as an appendage of the ruling class for decades coupled with their role in funneling votes to Democrats to appear “pro-labor” has given the AFL-CIO no option but to tacitly endorse the actions of the Biden administration. Apart from their three-sentence statement published on October 11, 2023, the organization has ignored the burgeoning labor movement behind a call for ceasefire.

This is in stark contrast that most unions calling for a ceasefire are affiliated with the AFL-CIO. UE, SEIU, ALU and others may be in the minority but have taken a vocal stance on the issue with the UE being one of the original sponsors of the petition.

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