Two major construction unions announced yesterday they would quit the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO. According to the New York Times, the laborers and the operating engineers unions, which include some 1.1 million members, plan to create a rival building trades group called the National Construction Alliance that would include carpenters, bricklayers, iron workers and Teamsters. Five other unions have left the AFL-CIO in the past year.
The split was announced by Terence O'Sullivan, president of the Laborers International Union of North America, which has 700,000 members. It was backed by the International Union of Operating Engineers, which has 400,000 members. The groups said the AFL-CIO's Building and Construction Trades Department had been ineffective in stopping a decline in construction-union membership.
A federation of 52 unions, the AFL-CIO represents more than 9 million workers, many in manufacturing sectors. It was formed in 1955 by the merger of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations.