The Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO (MWC AFL-CIO) is federation of local Washington, D.C.-based labor unions that claims to represent nearly 200 union affiliates, in both government and private sectors. The council supports its member unions by organizing rallies and strikes, as well as by endorsing Democratic politicians.
The council is a chartered member of the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of labor unions in the United States, and a prolific supporter of liberal politicians and left-of-center advocacy causes.
Founding and History
The MWC AFL-CIO was founded in 1896 as the Central Labor Union, Washington Branch, after a group of 13 local unions successfully petitioned the nascent American Federation of Labor. It was created in direct opposition to a local network of the Knights of Labor, a prominent labor union of the late 19th-century that feuded with but was eventually superseded by the AFL. 
The Central Labor Union grew quickly over the next few decades, swelling to 156 local unions and representing over 100,000 members by 1935. 
In 1955, when the AFL and the CIO merged nationally to form the AFL-CIO, the CLU likewise merged with the CIO’s DC Industrial Union Council, forming the Greater Washington Central Labor Council AFL-CIO (GWCLC). In 1958, union federations in the suburban Virginia jurisdictions of Alexandria, Arlington County, and Fairfax County also voted to join the new merged federation. These unions would later separate from the GWCLC in 1995. 
In 1981, the GWCLC voted to rename itself to its current name, the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO.  A year later, Joslyn N. Williams, formerly the council’s executive assistant to the president, was elected as the council’s first full-time paid president. He would hold this role for nearly 40 years, retiring in 2016. 
As of July 2021, the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO claims to represent nearly 200 local union affiliates. Its affiliates include local chapters of Teamsters, SEIU, AFSCME, and SAG-AFTRA, as well as the Montgomery County Federation of Teachers and the NFL Players Association. 
The MWC made endorsements for the 2018 election cycle. The organization largely supported incumbents and only endorsed Democrats. Included in its list of endorsements was longtime U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), a member of Democratic Party leadership and a prolific supporter of the AFL-CIO.  
The MWC publishes a daily online podcast, Union City Radio, in addition to updates on its latest organizing news. In October 2021, for example, the MWC helped members of the IATSE Local 22 prepare a strike against John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 
The federation conducts community service work through its related 501(c)(3) organization, the Community Services Agency of the Metro Washington Council AFL-CIO. The Community Services Agency nonprofit grants over $100,000 each in year in emergency funds and training programs to families in need. 
The MWC’s most recent publicly available financial filings from 2018 show total revenues of $1,098,984 and total expenses of $834,170.  It is funded entirely through membership dues from local unions, claimant advocacy fees, and from fundraising events such as dinners and luncheons.
The current president of the MWC is Dyana Forester, a representative from UFCW Local 400. Forester’s election as president of the MWC was, according to the MWC itself, the first contested election in the organization’s living memory.  She narrowly won 51.3% of the vote against Eric Bunn, a representative from AFGE Local District 14 and the council’s treasurer.