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The 1.3 million-member United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) voted in convention to rejoin the AFL-CIO after an eight-year absence.

“We join the AFL-CIO because it is the right thing to do for UFCW members, giving them more power and influence,” said UFCW President Joe Hansen. “This is not about which building in Washington D.C. we call home. It is about fostering more opportunities for workers to have a true voice on the job.”

The UFCW represents workers in the retail, grocery, meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. Hansen believes that the union’s decision to re-affiliate will lead to a stronger, more united labor movement. That, in turn, will increase the power of workers on Capitol Hill during a time when their rights and benefits have come under attack, he added.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka noted, “The decision by the UFCW to unite with the broader labor movement is great news for workers living in the ‘new normal’ of the low wage economy. A stronger, more unified grassroots movement of working men and women is exactly what’s needed to raise wages for workers and rebuild an American middle class. Together we have a stronger voice in the global economy – the power to counter the excesses of CEOs and the ravages of inequality. I look forward to a strong partnership that can make a real and growing difference for today’s workers.”

Prior to its 2005 departure from the AFL-CIO, the UFCW was an MTD affiliate.