AFL-CIO backs “people’s movement” in Middle East

The AFL-CIO Executive Council Aug. 4 praised the role workers and independent trade unions are playing in the popular mobilizations against corrupt, oppressive regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Meeting at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Md., the council said in a statement:


After enduring decades of repression exercised by governments with the support of the West, including the United States, the workers and people of Tunisia and Egypt have mobilized by the millions for democracy and fundamental rights. The AFL-CIO and the global labor movement salute the independent trade union movements in both of these countries and support their aspirations for social justice.

Read the full statement here.

The union leaders also commended the independent union movement in Bahrain for being leading voices in the political reform movement and saluted unionists in Algeria, Iraq and Yemen for speaking out for better jobs and wages, and for more political rights for the underrepresented and voiceless.

The council also called on the U.S. government to change its historic lack of support for the workers and the people of the Middle East and North Africa:

The governments of the region and the United States need to be responsive to the demands of the people for political and economic reform, and prioritize them over narrowly perceived national economic or political interests that usually leave average working people in the Middle East and North Africa holding the short end of the stick.

Photo: Michigan State AFL-CIO President Mark Gaffney (right) confers with Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) President Jerad Abdessalam in Tunis. Story and photo reposted from AFL-CIO Now blog.