Published September 02, 2013

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union has cut ties with the AFL-CIO, citing in part the private-sector union’s support for ObamaCare and immigration reform.

In an August 29 letter to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, leaders of the 40,000-member union said they have become “increasingly frustrated” with the federation’s policy positions on such matters as immigration and health care reform.

“We feel the federation has done a great disservice to the labor movement and all working people,” wrote Robert McEllrath, president of the San Francisco-based ILWU.

McEllrath said his union supports the single-payer, nationalized healthcare policy while the AFL-CIO backs Obama’s tax on its so-called "Cadillac" healthcare plan, according to, which first reported the story.

"President Obama ran on a platform that he would not tax medical plans and at the 2009 AFL-CIO Convention, you stated that labor would not stand for a tax on our benefits," the letter states.

The letter also states both groups have historically supported comprehensive immigration reform with a clear path to citizenship and protecting undocumented workers from deportation and being fired.

“However, the immigration bill you recently asked us to support imposes extremely long waiting periods on the path to citizenship … .” the letter states.

The group acknowledges its short and rocky relationship with the CIO, getting kicked out for being “too red” during the anti-labor, McCarthy era and rejoining as late as 1998, after the AFL-CIO merger.

In the letter, McEllrath also thanked the AFL-CIO for help in a 2002 labor-contract negotiation.