Two US trade unions representing more than three million workers have left the country’s main labour federation, the AFL-CIO.
The Teamsters and the Service Employees unions say the AFL-CIO has neglected the movement’s loss of members and influence in favour of politics. Another two unions are boycotting the current AFL-CIO convention in Chicago.
The rebels are among seven dissident unions representing a third of the AFL-CIO’s 13 million members – and $35m (£20m) in dues. The breakaway unions have already set up a rival organisation.
AFL-CIO president John Sweeney criticised the rebels at the start of the convention. “A divided movement hurts the hopes of working families for a better life,” he said.
According to government statistics, 12.5% of all US workers – and 8% of private-sector workers – are union members.