American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), largest union of public employees in the United States. It began as a number of separate locals organized by a group of Wisconsin state employees in the early 1930s. By 1935 there were 30 locals that became a separate department within the American Federation of Government Employees. In 1936, AFSCME received its charter. By 1955, at the time of the AFL-CIO merger, the union had 100,000 members. The following year it merged with the 30,000-member Government and Civil Employees Organizing Committee. As of 1989, the union had over 1,090,000 members, excluding the 58,000 member Hospital and Health Care Employees Union which, as of 1989, became a member of both AFSCME and the Service Employees Union (SEIU).