On Wednesday, top leaders of the Brazil's largest trade union federation, Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT), including President Vagner Freitas, João Felicio and Artur Henrique, met with U.S. union leaders at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C., to discuss strategies for joint action, priorities and partnerships moving forward. This daylong meeting resulted in a signed agreement regarding partnerships and exchanges between CUT and the AFL-CIO. The bilateral agreement outlines joint actions to respond to the global financial and employment crisis, coordinate actions against multinational corporations, strengthen regional and international cooperation and solidarity and promote policies of racial justice and inclusion to strengthen the representation of migrant, women and youth workers.
Union leaders at the meeting included AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, United Steelworkers (USW) President Leo Gerard, Communications Workers of America (CWA) President Larry Cohen, UAW President Bob King, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists President Terry Melvin, William Lucy of the Postal Workers and representatives from AFT, UNITE HERE and Machinists (IAM).
Over the last couple of decades, we’ve all learned how strong workers can be when they unite across borders to organize and bargain at multinational companies. Our work with the CUT of Brazil has demonstrated this in several industries, in both Brazil and the U.S. We continue to learn a lot from each other, and I am glad to say that today’s meeting took that partnership to the next level.
The AFL-CIO's partnership with the CUT shows that to build collective power for workers across sectors in a global economy, we need to continue to organize workers by building long-term strategic relationships between workers and their labor federations.