More than 140 union leaders and activists from several countries gathered for the first ever North American Solidarity Project Conference at Unifor’s family education centre this weekend.
“If we are going to continue renewal of the labour movement we have to be bold. The rich are getting richer and working people need us to collaborate and fight back,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor’s National President.
The conference came about as a result of an in depth study and solidarity building project that began in 2017 when Unifor signed a Cooperation Agreement with the United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers Union (UE)
“It is great to be in a room with more than a hundred like-minded trade unionists from the U.S., Mexico, Australia, and Canada, who are clear that as workers and as a class, we have more in common with each other than we do with the employer,” said Peter Knowlton, president of UE.
The group leading the project also reached out to other unions including National Nurses United, Lecturer’s Employees Organization, Utility Workers of America, United Voice of Australia and six independent Mexican unions.
Delegates from all over the globe attended workshops to brainstorm on how to fight back as right wing governments continue to attack workers across North America.
The conference ended with a joint statement from all the unions that says: “In the face of right-wing populism, anti immigrant rhetoric, and rising inequality, unions must act to counter balance the forces that attack workers’ rights and undermine equality for all… We believe that it is time for unions to present a bold vision for social change and union renewal that unites the working class.”