The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) is a separate but affiliated branch of the national Democratic Party that uniquely operates in Minnesota. It was formed on April 15, 1944, when the state's Democratic and Farmer-Labor parties merged. For many years, the DFL has championed the causes of farmers and skilled union workers, though in recent years, the former has taken a distant backseat to the latter as well as to the interests and goals of the national Democratic Party. All Democratic politicians in and from Minnesota work under the DFL header, though this has become more of a matter of tradition than of any substantive meaning. Outside the state, DFLers are typically referred to by their colleagues in the United States Congress and by the mainstream media simply as "Democrats."