The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has begun a global organized labor effort to help U.S. unions pass the Employee Free Choice Act.
In a letter from the General Secretary Guy Ryder to all ITUC affiliates he writes: "The violation of freedom of association and the rights to organize and bargain collectively weaken the American Trade Union movement considerably. That, in turn, weakens the international trade union movement. In addition to membership losses and slippage of bargaining strength, U.S. workers and their unions have no choice but to fight for survival rather than putting their energies into the advance of social progress at home and abroad. In addition, U.S. anti-union practices serve as a destructive model for industrial relations in other countries. This is a global issue and we urge you to join your voices wit those of American trade unionists.
The ITUC has come together with its Global Union partners to work to support the effort of our U.S. colleagues to make this important change."
Ryder continues his letter with a request for action:
- "Governments should be urged to communicate their support to the U.S. Administration."
- "We would like to organize simultaneous visits to US embassies from trade union delegations to present our collective concerns and support for efforts of US unions and the Administration to reform the labor laws."
- "Contract your employers," says Ryder.
- "Contact your counter-part employer organizations and communicate the truth about the Employee Free Choice Act and discuss the important issues involved in this legislation. Communicate with individual companies in your country, particularly those that have investments in the US or US-based companies that operate inside your borders."
- "Contact allies in Civil Society, including political parties," continues Ryder. "Reach out to civil society groups and other allies to explain the issues related to the Employee Free Choice Act and enlist them in common and/or co-ordinated efforts to influence governments and employers."
Ryder finishes his global letter by reiterating the bills importance, "Thank you for your support and solidarity in this important global struggle for workers' rights."
The AFL-CIO has worked for several years now to weave together a global labor movement that can fight across national boundaries for workers rights. We have worked to build global capacity to work together on organizing campaigns and to build global leverage to support workers struggling to form unions and win contracts.
One of the impediments to progress has been the basic lack of understanding in other western democracies of just how bad American labor laws are and how we could work effectively across national boundaries on labor policy.
In the last three years the AFL-CIO has convened on helped to convene three global meetings of union organizers from across the world and the first even Global Union Organizing Summit. That summit in
December of 2007 brought together 250 organizers and leaders from 45 countries.
Our work together has created a US-Britain effort to combat American-style union busting in Britain, bargaining support in Canada, organizers training in Nigeria, strong advocacy to stop the murder of Colombian trade unionists, South Korea - U.S. cooperation to stop the Korea Free Trade Agreement, cooperation with Brazil's Lula and other progressive Latin American leaders and governments to stop the Free Trade Area of the Americas.
Now the fruit of that work is coming home to help win the Employee Free Choice Act.