Economic Definition of AFL-CIO. Defined.
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Term AFL-CIO Definition: The umbrella organization for many labor unions in the United States, with AFL standing for American Federation of Labor, and CIO the abbreviation of Congress of Industrial Organizations. The AFL-CIO began as just the AFL in 1886 as a collection of craft unions representing skilled workers. It expanded to include semiskilled and unskilled workers represented by industrial unions. Differing interests among the two groups lead to a division of the original AFL in 1938 into two separate groups -- the AFL containing craft unions and CIO containing industrial unions. This rift was closed in 1955, when the AFL and CIO merged to form the AFL-CIO.