The commitment to international solidarity that is a core UE value was on display at UE’s 76th Convention, held in Pittsburgh in August. Guests from Canada, Mexico, Italy and Japan joined UE members to celebrate victories, share experiences and reaffirm solidarity.
On July 5 and 6 the Frente Auténtico del Trabajo (FAT), an independent, democratic Mexican union and one of UE’s closest international allies, hosted a forum in Mexico City entitled “Federal Labor Law Reforms: Perspectives and Challenges.” The labor law reforms enacted on May 1, 2019 by at the behest of the new, pro-worker government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador were described by a variety of speakers as “historic,” and “huge.”
In May, UE Local 150 President Bryce Carter traveled to Japan to participate in an international conference addressing the privatization of public work. Carter was hosted by Jichiroren, the Japanese public sector workers’ union affiliated with UE ally Zenroren.
In June, UE General President Peter Knowlton traveled to Quebec to speak to the 37th convention of the Conseil Central du Montréal Métropolitain–CSN. The central council represents unions affiliated to the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) in greater Montreal, representing more than 95,000 members in about 400 local unions.
Fresh off a strike in Erie, PA, the United Electrical Workers are a model of the working-class internationalism that can build a more just world, writes Michael Galant in Foreign Policy in Focus.
UE International Representative and GE Conference Board Secretary John Thompson joined more than 700 delegates from across Italy at the 27th Congress of the Italian Federation of Metal Workers (FIOM), held from December 12–15. Delegates from FIOM attended UE’s 2015 and 2017 conventions, and UE’s relationship with FIOM was instrumental in setting up the global GE Trade Union Network.
At a mid-December meeting of unions from around North America held in Los Angeles, representatives of independent Mexican unions shared their expectations for working people under the government of the newly elected Mexican President, Andres Manuel Lopes Obrador (known as AMLO). This public event drew many Mexican-American members of the LA community.
The text of the proposed new “US-Mexico-Canada Agreement” released late on Sunday night reveals the stranglehold that corporate interests have upon our government, and underscores the absolute necessity of international solidarity among working people from all three countries in order to move forward.
UE’s Director of International Strategies Kari Thompson traveled to Hiroshima, Japan in early August to bring UE’s commitment to peace, denuclearization, and a reduction in military spending to the 2018 World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs. Longtime UE ally Zenroren, a Japanese trade union confederation representing over 1.2 million workers, hosted Thompson.
“South Koreans don’t want [U.S.] missiles there, they don’t want any of that. They want unification,” reports Eastern Region Vice President Darrion Smith, who represented UE on a US Labor Against the War (USLAW) delegation to Korea at the beginning of May.