A slight increase in the membership of constituent unions of the American Federation of Labor will be shown in the annual report of the Executive Council to be submitted at the national convention of the Federation at Los Angeles in October. The prospect of a good membership showing for 1927 gives considerable satisfaction to A. F. of L. leaders, who point out that it will mark the third successive year in which the strength of the trade unions has remained stationary or made a small gain. For the five year period, 1920 to 1924, inclusive the membership of the A. F, of L. declined annually at a rapid rate. In 1924 the Federation was weaker by approximately 1,210,000 members than in 1920, when it was at the peak of its strength.
Changes in the total strength of A. F. of L. unions during the last twenty five years, as reported by the Executive Council, are shown in the following table.
|Year ending Aug. 31
||Average total paid-up or reported membership|
It is noted in the report of the Executive Council for 1926 that the total given for paid-up and reported memberships does not take account of all members of affiliated unions. Those who were unemployed or on strike, or for whom per capita dues were not being paid for other reasons, numbered about 500,000 in 1926, so that the total strength of the Federation in that year was approximately 3,300,000. In addition to unions affiliated with the A. F. of L. there are various independent organizations with a total membership of more than a million. Including these organizations, the total trade union strength in the United States was estimated by Secretary of Labor Davis to be 4,443,523 in 1926.