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‘The Nobel Prize is for Labor Movements Around the World’

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler welcomed UGTT Secretary-General Houcine Abassi in a ceremony honoring his work. Credit: Solidarity Center/Kate Conradt

The Tunisian General Labor Union (Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail, UGTT), a longtime Solidarity Center partner, was at the forefront of the four organizations that recently won the Nobel Peace Prize, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler said today. In a ceremony at the AFL-CIO honoring UGTT Secretary-General Houcine Abassi, Shuler praised Abassi’s courage and tenacity and called the UGTT’s work “inspirational to us in the United States.”

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Working Women Empowered: Making Democracy in Tunisia

Photo by the Associated Press via the Solidarity Center website.

In December 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi, a 23-year-old market vendor in Tunisia, self-immolated to protest deep-seated government corruption that made it impossible for him to earn a living. Following his desperate action, Tunisian women helped spur protests and end autocratic regimes in Tunisia and throughout the Arabic-speaking world. Today, Tunisian women remain in the forefront of ensuring democratic change in their country during the difficult years of government transition.

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After the Arab Spring: Meany-Kirkland Award Honors Tunisian, Bahrain Labor Movements

After the Arab Spring: Meany-Kirkland Award Honors Tunisian, Bahrain Labor Movements

The Tunisian General Union of Labor (UGTT) and the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU)—two unions whose struggles are emblematic of labor’s role in the Arab uprisings—received the 2012 George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award in a ceremony last night at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C.  

UGTT General Secretary Hassine Abassi and GFBTU General Secretary S. Salman Jaddar Al Mahfoodh received the awards for their respective labor movements.

Workers' issues, such as high unemployment and lack of opportunity, declining living standards and the arrogant abuse of political and economic power by the corrupt few, spurred the Arab uprisings; and unions and workers’ rights activists were engaged in some of the most important union organizing in the region’s history.

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Meany-Kirkland Human Rights Award Honors Labor in the Arab Spring

The 2012 George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award will honor the Tunisian General Union of Labor (UGTT) and the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU)—two unions whose struggles over the past year are emblematic of labor’s role in the Arab uprisings, the AFL-CIO Executive Council announced at its annual winter meeting in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

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Tunisian Activist: We Want Human Rights, Economic Prosperity

After decades of being denied basic human and workers’ rights, Tunisians are now openly expressing their desire for those rights, says Tunisian activist Jamel Bettaieb.  The teacher and trade unionist received the 2011 Democracy Award from the National Endowment for Democracy in a Capitol Hill ceremony yesterday.

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