The AFL-CIO’s membership numbers were stagnant in 2013, despite the fact the union added more than one million members. According to a “Membership Report” prepared by AFL-CIO, almost all of that increase was attributable to the 2013 re-affiliation of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union with the AFL-CIO. [The UFCW left the AFL-CIO in 2005 to join the Change to Win Federation (CTW).] The other unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO suffered a net loss of slightly more than 18,000 members.
The report also notes that six unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO grew by more than 5,000 members in 2013 – UNITE HERE, SAG-AFTRA, National Nurses United (NNU), American Federation of Teachers, United Auto Workers, and American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). More unions lost membership than gained — 14 parent (international) unions had membership increases in 2013, and 24 lost members. The most successful AFL-CIO unions during the past five years are AFGE and National Nurses United.
The average membership of the AFL-CIO in 1955 was 12,622,000; by 2013, the union had lost more than four million members. (Many of those who departed were members of unions that left the AFL-CIO to go to CTW and have not returned.)