Here at the UE Research and Education Fund, we’ve done a lot this past year to deepen UE members’ understanding of the world through international solidarity with workers from other places. We look forward to continuing this work to challenge capitalism, militarism and nationalism in the new year.
International solidarity, which brings working people together across borders to engage in common struggle for a better life, is needed now more than ever. The challenges of corporate globalization, climate change and militarism require unified solutions to resist those who profit from the status quo by stoking up nationalist hatred to keep us divided.
This past year UE and the UE Research and Education fund have built international solidarity in a variety of ways:
In February and March, we utilized our global network of union workers to support UE members on strike in Erie, Pennsylvania.
In May, UE Local 150 President Bryce Carter participated in an international conference in Japan addressing the privatization of public work.
In July, UE General President Peter Knowlton and retired International Affairs Director Robin Alexander participated in a forum on Mexico’s historic labor law reform, hosted by long-time UE allies the FAT in Mexico City.
In August, unionists from Canada, Mexico, Italy and Japan joined UE’s 76th National Convention in Pittsburgh.
In November, UE Local 506 members in Erie hosted members of unions and worker centers from Canada, Mexico, and the US to develop working-class responses to the nationalist rhetoric we face in all three countries on trade, migration, and climate change. Sarah, a UE member from North Carolina who participated in the gathering in Erie, said, “It is heartening to remember that actually existing US unions today practice internationalism and that ours is one of them!”
On December 10, International Human Rights Day, more than 200 activists joined us to write letters protesting the violence and harassment of trade union and human rights activists in the Philippines. This campaign was made possible by the relationships we’ve built with trade unionists in the Philippines in the past, and we look forward to deepening those relationships in the coming year.
UE’s international solidarity work highlights the ways that workers build power collectively, regardless of where those workers live. From public sector workers facing threats to privatization from the US to Japan, to supporting the picket lines outside multinational corporations like Wabtec, our work this year continues to have a lasting impact on the struggle to create a better world.