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The Wall Street Journal reports that the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) has decided to rejoin the AFL-CIO eight years after the two organizations split.

According to the story, "The move will add one of the nation’s largest unions to the 56 already on the AFL-CIO’s roster, potentially giving the federation more heft to advance its political agenda ... The shift follows several rocky years for organized labor. Union membership numbers have declined as state lawmakers facing budget shortfalls have eliminated public-sector jobs. Unions have also had to pour resources into battling Republican-led state initiatives aimed at scaling back collective bargaining rights. Political battles have taken center stage, overshadowing organizing activity."

Back in 2005, a number of unions - including the UFCW - quit the AFL-CIO, saying that it hadn't done enough to organize new workers and unionize new companies, and formed a coalition called Change To Win. The Journal notes that "Change to Win still counts as members the Teamsters, the Service Employees International Union and the Farmworkers union."
KC's View:
Seems to me that while one of the problems that organized labor faces these days is declining influence, this has less to do with numbers than approach. It often seems, when reading about management-labor conflicts, that the two sides are debating using old paradigms rather than recognizing the realities of doing business in 2013.

I've long felt that the best companies are the ones that link compensation to performance at all levels of the business, that emphasize the critical importance of the people on the front lines and that give everybody skin in the game. That doesn't always seem to be the way the debate is framed ... and old battles just get refought using different numbers.