Congress of Industrial Organizations

   Faced with declining trade union membership following the onset of the Great Depression and with members facing reduced hours or wages, in 1934 elements within the American Federation of Labor (AFL), led by John L. Lewis of the Mineworkers Union, began to call for the organization of unskilled workers on an industrial basis. Lewis was joined by of the Amalgamated Clothing workers union, David Dubinsky of the International Ladies Garment Workers, and others in 1935 to form the Committee for Industrial Organizations which, in 1938, became the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). Encouraged by New Deal legislation, first in the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) and then in the National Labor Relations Act that recognized the right to free collective bargaining, the CIO began the struggle to organize steelworkers in 1936. The Steel Workers’ Organizing Committee (SWOC), led by Philip Murray, overcame the traditional ethnic and racial divisions among the workforce and won recognition from the U.S. Steel Corporation in 1937. In 1936 the United Automobile Workers began sit-down strikes to secure recognition in the auto industry, and in 1937 General Motors conceded defeat. Although Henry Ford and the “Little Steel” companies still refused recognition, by 1940 CIO membership had outstripped that of the AFL.
   Lewis was replaced by Philip Murray as leader of the CIO in 1940 when the mine workers leader endorsed Wendell Willkie rather than Franklin D. Roosevelt. During the war, the CIO supported the nostrike pledge in 1941, although the extent of wartime strikes in 1943 was sufficient to lead to the passage of the War Labor Disputes Act, a forerunner of the postwar Taft-Hartley Act limiting union freedom of action. Nonetheless, CIO membership rose to about 5 million during World War II. In addition, the CIO became more closely associated with the Democratic Party through the Political Action Committee established by Sidney Hillman and Philip Murray in 1943 to bypass the restrictions on political activities imposed by the wartime labor legislation.
   After the war, the CIO attempted to continue the working relationships established with the government and business during the war, but this was undermined by the outbreak of strikes in 1946 and the later Taft-Hartley Act. Attempts to organize southern textile workers in Operation Dixie were a complete failure. The Cold War also had an impact as left-wing groups and individuals like Harry Bridges were expelled from the organization. When Walter Reuther succeeded Murray as president in 1952, he began to lead the CIO toward cooperation with the AFL, and the two finally merged in 1955.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Congress of Industrial Organizations — ➔ AFL CIO * * * Congress of Industrial Organizations UK US noun ► an organization that is part of the THE AFL CIO(Cf. ↑the AFL CIO) …   Financial and business terms

  • Congress of Industrial Organizations —   [ kɔȖgres ɔf ɪn dʌstriəl ɔːgənaɪ zeɪʃnz], CIO …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Congress of Industrial Organizations — (C.I.O.) Merged with AFL (American Federation of Labor) in 1955 …   Black's law dictionary

  • Congress of Industrial Organizations — ☆ Congress of Industrial Organizations n. a group of affiliated labor unions in the U.S. and Canada, founded in 1938 and merged with the American Federation of Labor in 1955 to form the AFL CIO …   English World dictionary

  • Congress of Industrial Organizations — Logo of the Congress of Industrial Organizations The Congress of Industrial Organizations, or CIO, proposed by John L. Lewis in 1932, was a federation of unions that organized workers in industrial unions in the United States and Canada from 1935 …   Wikipedia

  • Congress of Industrial Organizations — Congrès des organisations industrielles Le Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO Congrès des organisations industrielles) est une confédération syndical nord américaine issue d une scission de l AFL en 1938. Elle se réunifie avec l AFL pour… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Congress of Industrial Organizations — Der CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations) war ein US amerikanischer Gewerkschaftsbund der überwiegend ungelernte Industriearbeiter organisierte. Der CIO hatte Mitglieder in den USA und Kanada und übte seinen stärksten Einfluss während der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Congress of Industrial Organizations — a federation of affiliated industrial labor unions, founded 1935 within the American Federation of Labor but independent of it 1938 55. Abbr.: C.I.O., CIO * * * …   Universalium

  • Congress of Industrial Organizations — n. North American alliance of industrial labor unions, CIO …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Congress of Industrial Organizations — noun a federation of North American industrial unions that merged with the American Federation of Labor in 1955 • Syn: ↑CIO • Hypernyms: ↑federation …   Useful english dictionary

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