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WASHINGTON - The A.F.L.-C.I.O. has announced that it is creating a new organization for nonunion workers who agree with the labor movement on many issues and want to campaign alongside labor on those issues, The New York Times reports.
The group, to be called Working America, is being formulated to get more Americans campaigning with unions on labor issues, according to the A.F.L.-C.I.O. However, observers also see it as a move to give the A.F.L.-C.I.O. more political clout. Federation officials say they hope the organization will attract more than one million members to lobby Congress and to join demonstrations.
"There are millions of working people who would like to be part of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.'s efforts for social justice and want a voice to speak out and work to change the direction of this country," John J. Sweeney, the federation's president, said yesterday at a news conference. "Working America will give them this chance."
Labor unions plan to send hundreds of people door to door in working-class neighborhoods to recruit members for the new group, Sweeney said.
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations has begun pilot projects for the new group in Seattle and Cleveland, according to the report. In Seattle, three people working for seven weeks signed up 1,200 nonunion workers to join Working America. About half of the new members made contributions, labor leaders said, with those who contributed giving an average of $16.