Workers around the world face the same conditions: bosses who maximize their profit by moving their investments without regard to their impacts on communities or the environment. As long as there are places where workers toil for starvation wages without health and safety protections, it’s hard to achieve or maintain good wages or conditions anywhere. We must work collaboratively across borders in order to effectively fight back against the multinational corporations that dominate our economy.
Our international solidarity work is rooted in worker-to-worker exchanges to understand struggles in other countries, enabling us to create strategies to confront corporate greed and destruction of the planet.
In July 2017, UE sent a Young Activist delegation to Mexico City to spend a week with our allies at the Frente Auténtico del Trabajo (FAT). There our members’ agenda included an orientation to Mexico’s economy, labor law, and organizing struggles, and a discussion of the FAT’s efforts to address violence against women, including disappearances and femicides.
Other such moments of collaborative conversation include attendance at the August 2016 World Social Forum in Montreal and facilitating the “Global Justice” track at the April 2016 Labor Notes Conference in Chicago. At events such as these, our members are able to talk with members of unions and other social justice organizations about organizing to fight back against the impact on our workplaces and communities of the free flow of capital across borders.
UE has demonstrated our commitment to solidarity in a variety of other forms as well. This included a photo action at the request of the General Confederation of Workers (CGT) of France, in which members held signs stating, “Non a la loi travail!!” (No to the labor law!!) We stood with our French comrades to oppose the labor reforms proposed by the French government to lengthen the 35-hour work week, reduce overtime, make it easier to lay off workers, and other anti-worker measures. UE has also sent representatives to a number of conferences and conventions, including the Unifor 2016 Constitutional Convention and 2017 Canadian Council, the Confederation of National Unions (CSN) Convention in Montreal, the IndustriAll congress in Rio de Janeiro, an anti-TPP conference in Mexico City, and Los Angeles and Toronto meetings of the Tri-National Solidarity Alliance, an organization including Canadian, Mexican, and American unions. UE also hosted a delegation from Metallurgical Employees Workers Federation (FIOM), our Italian partners, in December 2016 in Pittsburgh and Erie, where we continued to advance the goals of an international, rank-and-file approach to GE.
As we approach everything from the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to the spectre of war on the Korean peninsula, our interests as workers are best served by maintaining UE’s commitment to international solidarity.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THIS 75th UE CONVENTION:
- Affirms support for the UE-Unifor North American Solidarity Project;
- Reaffirms support for the Strategic Organizing Alliance with the FAT;
- Reaffirms the deepening of our relationship with Zenroren;
- Reaffirms our participation in and support of the global union federation IndustriALL;
- Reaffirms solidarity with: the CSN of Quebec; Brazilian Central Union of Workers (CUT); CGT of France; New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) of India; FIOM of Italy; Workers Advice Center (WAC MA’AN) in Israel/Palestine; Kilusang Mayo Uno and Partido ng Manggagawa of the Philippines; the many Canadian, Mexican and U.S. unions that are our partners in the Tri-National Solidarity Alliance; and other democratic worker movements around the world;
- Commits to building relations with unions abroad, especially in our industries, through direct contact, progressive forums and networks, and other means, as well as establishing and deepening relationships with workers in sister shops who globally share our employers, including workers in China, Russia, and Cuba;
- Actively condemns the murder and persecution of trade unionists and harassment of unions and union busting anywhere in the world;
- Encourages locals and members to increase their involvement in our international program and to make contributions and voluntary payroll check off for the UE-FAT Solidarity Fund and UE Research and Education Fund;
- Commits to ongoing worker-to-worker exchanges with our allies in order to deepen our alliances and understanding of global labor conditions so that we may engage in collective action together;
- Encourages the participation in global alliances to fight the rise of precarious (part-time, temp, subcontracted, and insecure) jobs.