International Trades Unions?
April 19th 2008 – 12.00 o’clock
Exmouth Arms, 1 Starcross St, London NW1 2HR
(near to Euston Station and Euston Square underground)
Speakers: Kim Moody (ex-Director of US Labor Notes)
Unite speaker to be confirmed
Even before the process of amalgamation of Amicus and the TGWU has been completed, the leadership is now talking of some sort of marriage with the US United Steelworkers Union. The TGWU has a relationship with the Service Employees International Union, led my Andy Stern, described by Tony Woodley as a ‘visionary’.
Bringing about an international union, whatever form it might take, is no small step. Probably very few of the members of UNITE know a great deal about the USW and the SEIU. A democratic approach would dictate an open discussion about these potential allies, what they do, what their methods are?
The SEIU of Stern has something of a reputation for aggressive unionism, identified with campaigns like Justice for Janitors. However, fundamentally it’s approach is ‘business unionism’. It is a pro-partnership union.
The USW, which became a kind of general union, when steel declined, has a ‘partnership’ with the US steel companies, to stop ‘unfair’ steel imports from China.
Both Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson were elected on platforms of opposition to partnership. How can they move towards an international union with pro-partnership US unions?
How would the members control such a union? What democratic structures would it have?
How can you build an internationalist response to global capital in alliance with the big corporations?
International solidarity between different unions is possible, but only based on a common approach, a partnership with workers in other countries, not with the big corporations.
This meeting aims to open a discussion on the proposal to form a union with the USW, which has come from on high, with no real discussion.
Download the leaflet here solmeeting1904081.pdf