International Worker Solidarity
Workers rights are under attack around the world as the global corporate elite seek to deny all workers their fundamental human rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining. Corporations are working together across international borders to prevent workers across the globe from organizing and bargaining collectively with their employers, in many cases through violent and forceful means.
Anywhere you go in the world today, corporations are trying to get away with paying poverty wages and silencing workers’ voices in order to extract more profit for the 1%. For CWA members, this global corporate effort has led to greater offshoring of U.S. jobs, erosion of benefits, and downward pressure on our wages. In particular, US call center workers have seen their wages decline by three percent over the last decade with the rise of outsourcing and global offshoring.
For workers abroad, corporate greed has meant not only declining wages but the threat of violence and repression if they fight back to raise wages and improve working conditions. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) reports that in 2019, workers in 64 countries have faced arrest and imprisonment for trade union activities and in 10 countries union activists were murdered this year. Unfortunately, International Trade Agreements have not been designed to address these conditions -- corporate investments are given a higher level of protection than workers’ rights. The primary result of trade agreements has been to allow corporations to lower wages and standards by pitting workers in different countries against one another in a global race to the bottom.
Unions, like corporations, must also work across borders to build power. The workers around the world employed directly by our employers or through a growing web of vendors are not the enemy. The corporations attempting to pit us against one another are our common enemy and they stand to gain the most if we are not united and standing together in solidarity.
For decades, CWA has stood boldly in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the global Labor Movement through international bodies like the ITUC, UNI Global Union, the International Federation of Journalists, International Transport Federation, and others. We have also worked closely with unions that are organizing workers in our industries, including the BPO Industry Employees Network (BIEN) in the Philippines, Fedotrazonas in the Dominican Republic, and RED Sindical in Mexico. These three unions have received support from the Eduardo Diaz Union-To-Union International Solidarity Fund to further their work to organize call center workers who are employed by CWA-represented employers or by vendors that work for our employers.
CWA has also received invaluable support from these global unions. In 2016 during the Verizon strike, BIEN members in the Philippines reached out to us in solidarity. They engaged in work stoppages and public protests, and they hosted a CWA delegation that helped shine a light on Verizon’s extensive offshoring. In addition, BIEN, RED Sindical, and Fedotrazonas have provided valuable information about the wages and working conditions in call centers serving AT&T customers, which we publicized here in the U.S. during our contract fights to protect call center jobs and win a guaranteed percentage of Mobility calls.
CWA has always been a leader in International Solidarity. Our work in this area is guided by the belief that we can create a better world where all workers, whichever country they live in and whichever industry they are working in, must have the right to join and organize unions.
Resolved: In this era of greater globalization, CWA repudiates efforts to demonize and scapegoat workers outside the United States who are not our enemies and who are being exploited by the same employers. CWA understands we are stronger when we have allies around the globe who are ready to fight alongside us in our moments of need, to expose injustice, protect jobs and shore up hardwon contractual rights.
Resolved: CWA Locals recognize the need to support global organizing efforts and again commit to supporting the Eduardo Diaz Union-to-Union International Solidarity Fund through voluntary funding at a minimum of $0.10 per member per year as outlined in the resolution adopted by the 62nd CWA convention.
Resolved: CWA will work to ensure that international trade agreements include strong labor chapters with robust enforcement mechanisms and include provisions that provide workers the same opportunity to work together across borders by bargaining jointly similar to the rights granted to corporations that allow them to invest across borders.
Resolved: CWA will engage with our international union partners in meaningful dialogue to find opportunities to develop strategic partnerships that will strengthen our bonds of solidarity and enable us to work together across borders to fight the power of our common enemy and reverse the global race to the bottom. CWA will continue to stand in solidarity with the efforts of workers globally in our industries and in other sectors in their courageous campaigns to organize and gain collective bargaining rights, which lifts standards and counters corporate power.