The AFL-CIO, America’s largest federation of trade unions, represents over 12.5 million workers. Before 1955, the AFL (American Federation of Labor) and the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations) were separate, competing organizations. The two organizations chose to merge in 1955 in order to strengthen the labor movement and eliminate competition between different unions and workers. This mini-exhibit, on display in the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library, tells the story from the formation of the joint Unity Committee to the December 5, 1955 merger in commemoration of AFL-CIO’s 60th anniversary.
In 2013, the AFL-CIO gifted UMD their entire archive, over 6 miles of documents. The documents, photos, and artifacts on display are all from the AFL-CIO collection. To learn more about what’s in the AFL-CIO collection, go online to go.umd.edu/laborarchives or contact us.