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Rome: World Federation of Trade Unions 18th Congress underway

By staff

WFTU General Secretary George Mavrikos (Greece) speaking at opening of congress.

Rome, Italy – The 18th Congress of the World Federation of Trade Unions is being held in Rome, Italy May 6 – 8. Nearly 500 delegates came from 96 countries, with many more participating online. The WFTU represents 110 million workers in 133 countries, mostly in the global south. For the first time in over 50 years, there were delegates from the United States, with representatives from AFSCME 3800, the University Minnesota clerical workers union, and Roofers Local 36 from Los Angeles. Both unions have affiliated to the WFTU in recent years. Also participating from the U.S. was a leader of the newly-formed Starbucks Workers Union, who attended as an observer.

The first day featured speeches from General Secretary George Mavrikos (Greece) and President Mike Makwayiba (South Africa) who both called for the unity of the working class under a banner of militant class struggle oriented unionism. Also speaking were union leaders from Brazil, Nepal, France, Cuba, India, Venezuela, Trinidad, Guatemala, Palestine, Laos, Peru, Nigeria, Colombia and Germany. All talked about the failures of capitalism to address the pandemic, the need to build democratic, fighting unions, international solidarity, and to stand strongly against imperialist war and aggression.

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