The North American working class and our combined labor movements face extraordinary challenges that call for bold ideas and new structures. Two years ago, UE’s 75th Convention committed to building the North American Solidarity Project (NASP) with Unifor, the largest-private sector trade union in Canada, in order to explore the possibility of building a continential labor alliance based upon democratic and militant social unionism and true internationalism. Although this work is still in its infancy, the project has broadened with time, with like-minded North American unions joining in our efforts, including National Nurses United (NNU), Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA), and the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU) and its affiliate the Inland Boatman’s Union (IBU).
The list of activities that UE and Unifor have worked together on in the past two years — in some cases with the participation of other NASP unions — is long. There were many productive meetings between NASP unions in North Carolina, California, Tennessee, Ontario, and Manitoba. Topics covered included political action, organizing, Medicare for All, climate change, combating racism, and just transition. The two-day conference in Port Elgin was particularly notable, with over 150 members and staff from NASP unions participating, along with a delegation of Mexican trade unionists from five independent unions, including the Authentic Workers Front (FAT).
Unifor, with UE assistance, worked to ensure the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA — often termed “NAFTA 2.0”) contained stronger protection for the rights of Mexican workers and expanded union rights. Unifor organizing staff attended an organizing blitz hosted by UE Local 150 in North Carolina. UE and Unifor have regularly supported each other’s contract and plant closing fights across borders. Unifor has also provided critical support to UE organizing campaigns.
The collective work of UE, Unifor, and the other NASP unions continues. All of the NASP partners have sent representatives to this 76th UE National Convention. NNU is hosting a general assembly in San Francisco in September, which UE and other NASP unions will attend. Also in September, NASP unions will join Unifor’s climate change meeting in Saskatoon. This November, the NASP will be meeting in Chicago, at UE Hall, to continue our climate change discussion and plan concrete action.
Our work with Unifor and other NASP partner unions is critical to our future and to building an independent democratic militant labor movement.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THIS 76th UE CONVENTION:
- Commits to continuing our work with Unifor developing cooperative working relationships on North American bargaining, organizing, education, communication, and political action initiatives;
- Endorses UE’s continued participation in joint study and action with NASP partners in order to build a continental labor alliance based upon democratic and militant social unionism and true internationalism among workers across the continent;
- Calls upon the union at all levels to educate the membership on the need for the NASP, its role in advancing the interests of working people across the continent, and steps that can be taken to support and strengthen the project locally, regionally, and nationally.