Resolution #78A-21-06

Solidarity Across Borders

CWA’s efforts to support workers and unions globally fighting for respect and dignity go back to the earliest days of our union. As CWA’s first president, Joe Beirne, stated in 1965, “Free unions in a free world is a goal as basic to CWA as the winning of better wages and working conditions for our members in the communications industry in this country.”

Within a decade of becoming the Communications Workers of America, our union affiliated in 1955 with the global union federation Postal, Telegraph, and Telephone International (PTTI). The PTTI federation has grown over time into the UNI Global Union, with CWA still serving in a leadership role. Likewise, IUE-CWA members are part of IndustriALL, the global federation of workers in mining, energy and manufacturing. The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA has long been a part of the International Transport Workers Federation. And The NewsGuild-CWA belongs to the International Federation of Journalists.

But CWA’s international solidarity work extends far beyond affiliating with global union federations. Starting in 1959, CWA launched Operation South America, which provided direct financial and staffing support for labor leaders and activists struggling to form unions in the communications sector throughout South America, Central America and the Caribbean. In 1998, CWA convention delegates created the Union-to-Union International Solidarity Fund, supported by voluntary contributions of 10 cents a member from CWA locals, with funds going to directly support organizing efforts by workers around the globe. Today the fund is known as the Eduardo Diaz Union-to-Union International Solidarity fund, in honor of former CWA International Director Eduardo Diaz. In recent years the fund has supported unions organizing workers in Mexico, the Philippines and the Dominican Republic.

In today’s global economy, our efforts to support all workers fighting for union rights around the world are more important than ever. Corporations today know that outsourcing jobs allows them to race to the bottom with labor standards, wages and working conditions. These employers aggressively fight any efforts of workers to exercise their fundamental rights to organize. And they work to prevent workers from joining together across borders to lift up the standard of living for all workers.

In the last few years, we’ve watched in horror as authoritarian regimes work to silence workers exercising their democratic rights in the political space as well. Peaceful protests demanding basic democratic rights have been brutally suppressed around the world and labor activists targeted for arrests and even assassination.

CWA cannot stand silently as our brothers and sisters around the world struggle for their rights as workers and citizens. As CWA President Joe Beirne stated in 1965 “Aiding other democratic trade unions throughout the world is a fundamental part of our commitment.”

Resolved: CWA will continue to support the work of our various global union federations in their efforts to bring workers in similar industries together to fight for our common goals.

Resolved: All CWA locals will recommit to supporting CWA’s International Solidarity work by supporting the Eduardo Diaz Union-to-Union International Solidarity fund through voluntary funding at a minimum of $0.10 per member per year.

Resolved: The International Committee of the CWA Board of Directors will review and suggest to the President of CWA projects to support through the Eduardo Diaz Union-to-Union International Solidarity fund. The committee will annually review projects receiving those funds and report on their progress.

Resolved: CWA urges the Biden Administration to continue prioritizing the strengthening of workers rights through United States trade and foreign policy.

Resolved: CWA remains firm in our understanding that no country can be considered a democracy if it allows or facilitates the targeting of labor leaders and activists, or if it actively hinders the ability of workers to freely join unions, and we urge our government to treat offending nations accordingly.