Global Solidarity and Strategies


As Teamster employers have increasingly become global, we have developed transnational organizing and bargaining campaigns.

WHEREAS, the Teamsters have been a pioneer in labor’s new globalism. In 1995 the Teamsters launched an international strategic campaign against Royal Ahold; in 1997 we initiated a council for UPS unions worldwide that added pressure for a fair settlement; in December 1999 in Seattle the Teamsters were at the forefront of a global labor protest against WTO trade rules, so behemoth corporations do not exploit countries with weak labor laws and environmental standards; and

WHEREAS, in 2002 a Blue Ribbon Commission of Teamster leadership set out a new vision to build Teamster power that identified the importance of global outreach. In 2005 a Global Strategies office was established in the Strategic Research and Campaigns Department. Over the last six years we have greatly expanded our alliances with unions representing Teamster employers around the world; and

WHEREAS, through our membership in the Global Union Federations we support international union networks at key employers such as UPS, FedEx, DHL, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, AB-InBev, SABMiller, Holcim, Lafarge, United/Continental, Maersk, First Group, National Express, Veolia, Royal Ahold and global energy companies. These growing global alliances create power in organizing and at the bargaining table for Teamster locals and sister unions overseas. These relationships enhance our unique position in the global supply chain such as the port drivers organizing. We are fighting corporate driven globalization with global union solidarity.

WHEREAS, in 2007 General President Hoffa led a ground-breaking delegation to China. China is the key corporate battleground for market share and production sourcing. In 2009 Change to Win signed a protocol with the All China Federation of Trade Unions to expand and deepen information exchange. In 2010 Joint Council signed a protocol with the Shandong Federation of Workers for ongoing interchange. We have taken our first steps to build alliances with workers at Teamster employers in China; and

WHEREAS, large foreign multi-nationals are acquiring subsidiaries in theUnited States. The European firms are embracing anti-union tactics they avoid at home where unions often have legal recognition, employer respect, and political influence. Strong Teamster friendship with unions in Europe is creating new opportunities to join with home-country unions to demand neutrality during organizing drives and fairness at the bargaining table. The solidarity shown by the British union Unite was an essential factor in achieving neutrality with First Group that led to the organizing of thousands of bus drivers into the Teamsters; and

WHEREAS, solidarity is a two-way street. The Teamsters support solidarity requests to pressure employers and the US government to ensure respect for worker rights. In Mexico, El Salvador, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Iran, Zimbabwe, Burma and other countries, workers face prison and assassination for demanding union rights. And we are increasingly called on to demand that Teamster employers respect worker rights in their operations overseas. The Parcel Division played the key role in a dispute this year in Turkey that led to the reinstatement of 160 UPS workers who had been fired for joining a union.

WHEREAS, unions overseas are increasingly concerned with U.S.-style management interference making inroads in Europe and worldwide. Some U.S.-based anti-union consultants are setting up shop in the UK and Eastern Europe. The Teamsters have vast experience fighting union busters and are sharing our expertise with union partners.

WHEREAS, corporate-led globalization is producing slow growth and growing inequality. Corporations are creating social responsibility codes, fair-trade standards, and social auditing mechanisms to present an image to shareholders of fair treatment to employees while continuing to threaten workers who organize. The only long- term strategy for assuring labor rights at the workplace is a union chosen by the workers.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the International Brotherhood of Teamsters recognize that the future of working people and the future of our great Union depends on our ability to organize the unorganized and to build alliances with workers throughout the world. We will particularly focus on the global supply chains where we are uniquely positioned to build Teamster power; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Teamsters will bolster our participation in the Global Union Federations and our bi-lateral union relations with key partner unions. We will support mutual solidarity through union networks linking organizers and bargainers for specific employers and supply chains; and

FINALLY BE IT RESOLVED, that we will continue to oppose global and national policies that increase violence against trade unions in countries like Mexico, El Salvador, Colombia and Iran.