CLUW was founded in Chicago, Illinois in 1974 as part of a wave of constituency group organizing within the AFL-CIO. The impetus for the formation of CLUW came in June 1973 when women labor union leaders met to discuss the formation of a new AFL-CIO body to create a more effective voice for women in the labor movement. More than 3,000 women attend this conference.
CLUW was established to pursue the following goals:
Promote affirmative action in the workplace
Strengthen the role of women in unions
Organize the unorganized
Increase the involvement of women in the political and legislative process