Contemporary Unionism in the United States

By Clyde E. Dankert | Go to book overview

7
Structure and Government of the Congress of Industrial Organizations

IN 1938, three years after its formation, the C.I.O. held its first constitutional convention. At that time it not only adopted a constitution but changed its name. What had been the Committee for Industrial Organization became the. Congress of Industrial Organizations. With the change that had taken place both in the scope of the C.I.O.'s activities and in its status in the labor movement, the word "committee" was obviously a misnomer and could not very well be applied to such a body as the C.I.O. had become. The more suitable term, "congress," was therefore adopted.


The General Structure of the C.I.O.

Much of what was said in Chapter 4 about the general structure of the A.F. of L. is also true of the C.I.O. Both organizations are essentially federations of "self-governing national and international unions." or, to state the same idea in a different way, both are leagues of "sovereign unions." In both organizations, however, there are other structural units in addition to the powerful nationals and internationals. With one or two exceptions these units are of the same general character in the two organizations, though there is some difference in the terms applied to them.

The following diagram shows the main features of the C.I.O. structure and also the terms used to designate the various structural units. The high degree of similarity between the A.F. of L. and the C.I.O. will readily be observed. As in the A.F. of L., all units in the C.I.O. above the local unions are delegate bodies, and the connecting lines and arrows in the diagram show what bodies the delegates generally represent.


The Nationals and Internationals

As in the A.F. of L., the most important units in the C.I.O. are the nationals and internationals. The other units in the C.I.O. structure are distinctly inferior in power and in general significance. Originally, when the organization was founded as a "committee" in 1935, there were eight affiliated nationals and internationals. Since then the number has increased until now it amounts to approximately forty. Most of this increase occurred during

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