The AFL-CIO, reeling after many high-profile defections in the past year, invites the National Education Association (NEA) into its coalition–partially. From the AP report:
Reg Weaver, president of the NEA, the nation's largest teachers' union, said the partnership will give educators more muscle when they campaign for candidates for local political office and advocate legislation.
This move is not a formal merging, but merely allowing NEA locals to join the AFL-CIO.
Weaver's stated reason for glee over this move is interesting in light of what the article points out later on:
The partnership comes as the AFL-CIO, a federation of more than 50 unions representing 9 million workers, prepares for its first election cycle since about a half-dozen unions split from the federation, complaining that it emphasized political campaigns over organizing unions. The AFL-CIO lost more than a fourth of its members in the rift began in July 2005.
Sounds like this NEA move is just more of the same emphasis on politics that helped cripple the AFL-CIO in the first place.