Labor Acronyms: Who are they and what they do

With labor fights happening all over the country, news reports are veritable alphabet soups of the who's-who in labor unions. We break it down for you here!

SEIU

What does it stand for?
Service Employees International Union

What do they do?

We are the Service Employees International Union, an organization of 2.2 million members united by the belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide and dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society.

Resources
Infographic: How unions succeeded in making your workplace safer in the 100 years since the deadly Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire
Fact Check on Public Employees' Pensions

 

ALF-CIO

What does it stand for?
American Federation of Labor - Congress of Industrial Organizations

What do they do?

The American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is the voluntary federation of America's unions, representing 12.2 million members, including 3.2 million members in its community affiliate, Working America. The AFL-CIO was formed in 1955 by the merger of the AFL and CIO.

Resources
Unions FAQS
Labor History & Culture
Corporate Watch

 

UAW

What does it stand for?
United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America

What do they do?

The International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) is one of the largest and most diverse unions in North America, with members in virtually every sector of the economy.

Resources
UAW History
Look Who's UAW

 

UFCW

What does it stand for?
United Food and Commercial Workers International Union

What do they do?

We work in front of customers and behind the scenes. Look for us stocking produce in a supermarket aisle, slicing a cut of beef before it is delivered to a grocery store, taking a child’s temperature in a hospital, making the blue jeans your children wear to school or selling those jeans in a local department store. We are North America’s Neighborhood Union—1.3 million members standing together to improve the lives and livelihoods of workers, families, and communities.

Resources
Union Made

 

AFSCME

What does it stand for?
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees

What do they do?

AFSCME’s 1.6 million members provide the vital services that make America happen and advocate for prosperity and opportunity for all working families.

We are nurses, corrections officers, child care providers, EMTs and sanitation workers. For us, public service is not just a job, it’s a calling. At times we are right out front, and at other times we are behind the scenes. Wherever we are, we’re proud to take on the responsibility of helping to keep this country strong.

Resources
Find AFSCME in your state
AFSCME History

 

AFT

What does it stand for?
American Federation of Teachers

What do they do?

The mission of the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO, is to improve the lives of our members and their families; to give voice to their legitimate professional, economic and social aspirations; to strengthen the institutions in which we work; to improve the quality of the services we provide; to bring together all members to assist and support one another; and to promote democracy, human rights and freedom in our union, in our nation and throughout the world.

Resources
AFT Resources

 

NEA

What does it stand for?
National Education Association

What do they do?

We, the members of the National Education Association of the United States, are the voice of education professionals. Our work is fundamental to the nation, and we accept the profound trust placed in us.

Resources
Tools and Ideas

 

IBEW

What does it stand for?
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers

What do they do?

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) represents approximately 725,000 members who work in a wide variety of fields, including utilities, construction, telecommunications, broadcasting, manufacturing, railroads and government. The IBEW has members in both the United States and Canada and stands out among the American unions in the AFL-CIO because it is among the largest and has members in so many skilled occupations.

Resources
IBEW Website

This is not a comprehensive list. If we missed someone, please say so in the comments!