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Its Structure


The organizational structure of the AFL-CIO insures the preservation of the democratic process within the Federation.
Broad, general policies are established at biennial conventions at which each affiliate is represented in proportion to its
membership, the base upon which the entire structure is built.
The convention, which is the supreme governing body of the organization, also elects the AFL-CIO president,
secretary-treasurer and 33 vice presidents. These officers make up the AFL-CIO Executive Council, which governs
Federation affairs between conventions, supplements convention policies and keeps them up to date.
There is also a General Board, made up of the Executive Council plus a chief executive officer of each affiliated union and each
constitutional department. If a union's chief officer is an Executive Council member, another ranking officer serves. The General
Board meets to discuss matters referred to it by the officers and the Executive Council. For example, it traditionally has been
the body that acts on recommendations to endorse candidates for president and vice president in presidential election years.
The same concept of a union of unions that links the 90 national and international unions in the AFL-CIO also is expressed in
51 state and 625 local AFL-CIO central bodies. Through these labor centers, the more than 45,000 local unions of the
AFL-CIO affiliates carry on legislative, political and community service activities in their own areas.
The AFL-CIO also has nine constitutional departments, which are trade and industrial groupings for unions with strong
common interests. They are the Building & Construction Trades, Maritime Trades, Metal Trades, Industrial Union, Union
Label & Service Trades, Public Employee, Food & Allied Service Trades, Transportation trades and Professional Employees
These departments have their own executive bodies, hold their own conventions and manage and finance their own affairs
within the framework of the AFL-CIO Constitution.
They, too, function on state and local levels through more than 600 local department councils. They have representation at
AFL-CIO conventions and on the General Board, and through their delegates, help to shape AFL-CIO policy in their
specialized areas.
The AFL-CIO's operations are financed chiefly through regular dues, known as per capita taxes. These are paid by affiliates on
behalf of each member. The current per capita tax for national and international unions is 35 cents per member per month.
Thus, each member of an affiliated union contributes $4.20 a year to support the AFL-CIO. A detailed accounting of the
AFL-CIO's finances covering income and expenditures is presented to each biennial convention of the Federation.

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