Labour Start Conference to focus on Global Solidarity July 9-11

by Stuart Elliott

LabourStart, the international labor news and campaigning site, is doing something new this year—a Global Solidarity conference which will be held at McMaster College in Hamilton, Canada, July 9-11.

Participants from 28 countries are registered to attend the conference. This year’s conference marks a real growth for LabourStart from small conferences of senior correspondents. Last years conference was hosted in Washington DC by the AFL-CIO (See reports here and here.)

LabourStart, powered by 800 volunteer correspondents across the globe, publishes links to labor stories in 23 languages. Working closely with national unions and global union federations, LabourStart conducts action campaigns in multiple languages. It has promoted union use of new media through its labor website, photo, and video of the year contests.

While about half the workshops will be devoted to techie themes, like podcasts, moving print publications on-line, and labor blogging, the conference has more sessions devoted to critical issues of labor solidarity

A promised highlight of the conference will be a video-over-internet discussion with Iranian trade unionists about the challenges that face workers organizing there, and what the global labor movement can do in solidarity. Mehdi Kouhestaninejad, CLC, Mac Urata, ITF (by video), Tehran Vehad members by Skype video.

A panel on China’s Unions features Betty Wu Lawrence (CUPE), Paul Garver (IUF ret’d), Ellen David Friedman (NEA ret’d), Lennon Ying-Dah Wong (General Secretary of the First Commercial Bank Industrial Union in Taiwan). They will debate how to best approach the official unions affiliated with the ACFTU: working closely with them to encourage a more militant style of organizing or boycotting the ACFTU while working to build a new labor movement in China.

The Global Solidarity conference will also hear from union leaders and activists from Mexico, India, Iraq, Algeria, and Egypt.

Paul Garver and I will be reporting on and from the conference.

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