The United Steelworkers (USW), North America's largest private sector union, and Unite the Union, the largest labor organization in the United Kingdom and Ireland, today signed an agreement clearing the way for the creation of Workers Uniting, the world's first global union.

 

United Steelworkers                                         Unite


 

 


 

World's First Global Union Agreement Signed

Standing Ovation from Convention Delegates

Continued on page 2

he agreement to createWorkers Uniting, the world's first global union,

was signedWednesday by leaders of the United Steelworkers, North

America's largest private sector union, and Unite the Union, the largest

labor agreement in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

The USW's 2008 Constitutional Convention erupted in applause as

International President LeoW. Gerard and other USWofficers signed the

agreement with Derek Simpson, General Secretary of Unite's Amicus section.

"This union is crucial for challenging the growing power of global capital,"

Gerard said. "Globalization has given financiers license to exploit workers in

developing countries at the expense of our members in the developed world.

Only global solidarity among workers can overcome this sort of global

exploitation wherever it occurs."

Workers Uniting will draw on the energies of the two

unions more than three million active and retired workers

from the United States, Canada, Great Britain and the

Republic of Ireland who work in virtually every sector of

the global economy, including manufacturing, service, mining

and transportation.

"In addition to empowering the interests of our unions'

members, our mission is to advance the interests of millions

of workers throughout the world who are being

shamefully exploited," Simpson said.

TonyWoodley, General Secretary of Unite's T&GU

section, said in a video broadcast during the convention

that the creation of our new union is only the beginning.

"We're laying the foundations of an even larger and

stronger global union yet to come," he said.

The new global union's founding constitution calls on

its combined membership to "build global union activism,

recognizing that uniting as workers across international

boundaries is the only way to challenge the injustices of

globalization."

Consistent with this calling,Workers Uniting will

"match our words with action and resources, utilizing our

collective expertise and knowledge through collective bargaining,

organizing, global political action and international

solidarity."

During the past year while discussions about the creation

of a new global union have been ongoing, the two

unions have been actively engaged in joint efforts to

advance global union activism, including:

• Extensive discussions about strategies that each of the

unions has adopted for saving manufacturing capacity in

their respective countries.

• Joint collective bargaining efforts with common

employers in the paper, chemical and titanium industries.

• International solidarity projects, such as efforts to protect

the rights and safety of trade unionists in Colombia

and Mexico.

• Participation by rank and file delegations of activists in

each other's education, rapid response, health and safety,

civil rights and women's conferences.

• Exposure to the political processes in each other's

countries, including Democratic Party primaries and

Labour Party conferences.

Workers Uniting will be a fully functional and registered

labor organization in the United States, Canada, the

United Kingdom and Ireland, with the ability to fully represent

all of the members of its founding unions. It will be

governed by a steering committee with equal membership

from each participating union.

The new union's staff will be headed by an executive

director who will oversee an initial budget of several million

dollars, and a staff that includes research, international

affairs, and communications specialists.

Both participating unions have pledged to have

Workers Uniting "challenge exploitation anywhere in the

global economy, since it is fundamentally unjust and is

destructive of decent living standards everywhere."

Toward this end, the new union, in conjunction with the

National Labor Committee, is creating a Global Labor

Rights Network that will have allied staff on the ground in

Central America, the Middle East, Asia, Eastern Europe,

Africa and other regions.

New Global Partner

Lowers the Boom

on Exploitation by

Multinationals

 

erek Simpson, general secretary of Unite the Union (Amicus

section), our partner in the new global union,Workers

Uniting, repeatedly brought delegates to their feet

Wednesday with ringing denunciations of globalization.

"Globalization is not a hurricane," he declared. "It's not a

typhoon. It's not a natural disaster. It's a disaster forged in the

board rooms to exploit the rest of us."

He called America and the United Kingdom "the two most

unregulated markets, where workers are more exposed and exploited

than anywhere in the industrialized world.

"We seek your support for what needs to be done to challenge

global capital," Simpson told delegates. "What we need to tackle is

not immigrants, it's not the Chinese workers.What we have to fight

is the multinational companies that are using them to destroy our

lives."

Recounting his own experience as an activist, steward and local

officer, doing work that often puts trade unionists "between the

devil and the deep blue sea" trying simultaneously to combat

employers and satisfy the members, he asked: "Why do we do it?

"It's not just what's in it for us. It's what's in it for us as workers,

for us as a class. "It isn't for the money. You want to make a

difference. You want to make things better for you, for your wife,

your kids, your grand kids.

"Make a difference," he trumpeted. "Workers Uniting!"


USW, Unite form world's first global union

USW

Article Brief

The United Steelworkers (USW), North America's largest private sector union, and Unite the Union, the largest labor organization in the United Kingdom and Ireland, today signed an agreement clearing the way for the creation of Workers Uniting, the world's first global union. Check out the video news release:

SEE THE VIDIO