National Federation of Independent Unions

National Federation Of Independent Unions

National Federation of Independent Unions

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The National Federation of Independent Unions began late in 1942 as the Confederated Unions of America, a group of independent labor unions not affiliated with the AFL or the CIO, including the left-wing Mechanics' Educational Society of America (MESA), the United Brotherhood of Weldors, Cutters and Helpers of America, the Western Electric Independent Labor Federation, and the National Brotherhood of Packinghouse Workers, in an effort to create a voice in Washington for independent unionism. A split within the CUA created the National Independent Union Council. In 1963, the two organizations reunited to form the NFIU, a body with an emphasis on what they term "independent unionism": individual, independent unions with "he right to all the benefits of independence, including total autonomy local treasury control." It affiliated with the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA), AFL-CIO, under terms of extreme autonomy which allow the union to offer members the "rights, benefits and privileges of AFL-CIO membership and its Union Privilege Program" while preserving (for better or worse) their tradition of the independence and autonomy of constituent bodies. Since then, LIUNA has left the AFL-CIO to join the Change to Win Federation.


  • Mary Klemm, "The Rise of Independent Unionism and the Decline of Labor Oligopoly", The American Economic Review, Vol. 34, No. 1, Part 1. (Mar., 1944), pp. 76-86.
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