The AFL-CIO has declared the ten days following Thanksgiving (November 25 through December 4, 2011) as “Buy Union Week.” The action adopted by the AFL-CIO’s 25th Constitutional Convention also urges affiliated unions to use “all available means” to promote the purchase of union made gifts during the upcoming Holiday season.

Given the volatile state of the economy—marked by huge job losses, declines in take-home pay and increased costs—it makes more sense than ever to focus the purchasing power of union families on the goods and services that those families create. Supporting union made products helps keep good jobs in the community.

Consumer surveys indicate that Holiday spending will largely remain flat this year and that most of us will pay cash rather than add to our credit card debt. Still, the National Retail Foundation says that Americans will spend on average $704.18 on Holiday gifts and seasonal merchandise this year. All the more reason to specify “union-made-in-the-USA” gifts for friends and family—we’ll be looking for practical, quality gifts. Fads and gadgets won’t be big sellers this year.

Here are some suggestions for your 2011 Holiday shopping:

  1. Visit and click “Find Union Made Products and Services” in the yellow box at the top of the page to find ideas to start your shopping list.
  2. Demand union made products and services when you shop.
  3. When you find merchants who share your interest in union-made products & services, let us know who they are (e-mail us at:, and give them a copy of the “Thanks for Caring” certificate that is part of this package. (pdf)
  4. When you wrap your presents, use the enclosed tag to let friends and family know you shopped union.
  5. If you just can’t find a union source for the gifts you want to give, why not just give cash, and ask the recipient to spend it on union products or services.

Please contact us with your ideas for making “Buy Union Week” a big national success.

In Solidarity,

Rich Kline
President, Union Label & Service Trades Department (AFL-CIO)