International Solidarity

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.

Because of the relationships that UE has built with so many unions in the past, we were able to call on our international allies, with the cooperation of the global labor federation IndustriALL, to support UE Locals 506 and 618 during their 2019 strike against corporate greed. Unions in Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Turkey, Mexico and Brazil — all countries where the new employer, Wabtec, has operations — sent letters to the new corporate owners, demanding they maintain the good jobs that union members have fought for in Erie. Solidarity photos and greetings from Tokyo, Florence, Mexico City, Montreal, and beyond warmed the spirits of our members standing on freezing cold picket lines. 

UE encourages our members to build relationships with workers in other countries through international travel and other exchanges. In the recent period one member participated in a conference on the privatization of public work in Japan; another visited South Korea as part of a peace delegation organized by US Labor Against the War. Numerous members met international allies at the 2018 Labor Notes conference, and others strengthened cross-border ties as part of the activities of the North American Solidarity Project. Elected leaders and staff also helped us solidify our contacts by attending conventions and meetings in Mexico, Canada, Quebec, Italy, Japan, and Switzerland.

Our international partnerships inspire our approach to fulfilling other work that demands our attention. UE’s strong stance on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade and tariff changes is informed by our alliances with the FAT in Mexico and Unifor in Canada. Our affinity with Zenroren in Japan solidified our positions on the need for peace for working people. Our network of relationships across North America as part of the Tri-National Solidarity Alliance kept us rooted in the struggles of working people, from farm workers to factory floors.

By remaining unwavering in our commitment to international solidarity in the coming period, we advance our interests in promoting democratic, rank-and-file worker control at home and abroad.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THIS 76th UE CONVENTION:

  1. Reaffirms support for the UE-Unifor North American Solidarity Project;
  2. Reaffirms support for the Strategic Organizing Alliance with the FAT;
  3. Reaffirms the deepening of our relationship with Zenroren;
  4. Reaffirms our participation in and support of the global union federation IndustriALL;
  5. Reaffirms solidarity with: the CSN of Quebec; FIOM of Italy; Brazilian Central Union of Workers (CUT); CGT of France; New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) of India; Workers Advice Center (WAC MA’AN) in Israel/Palestine; Kilusang Mayo Uno and Partido ng Manggagawa of the Philippines; Unite the Union of the United Kingdom; 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;
  6. Stands in full solidarity with the CUT and the working class of Brazil as they resist extreme right-wing President Bolsonaro and his attempts to privatize Brazil’s Social Security system and destroy the Brazilian labor movement; 
  7. Commits to building relations with unions abroad 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;
  8. Condemns the murder and persecution of trade unionists, harassment of unions, and union busting anywhere in the world;
  9. Encourages locals and members to increase their involvement in our international program and to make contributions to the UE-FAT Solidarity Fund and UE Research and Education Fund;
  10. Commits to ongoing worker-to-worker exchanges with our allies and educational work with our members in order to deepen our alliances and understanding of global labor conditions so that we may engage in collective action together;
  11. Encourages the participation in global alliances to fight the rise of precarious (part-time, temp, subcontracted, and insecure) job