Aug. 18, 2005 – The worldâ€™s largest grouping of organized labor unions is set to meet next week in the Windy City to discuss the future of trade unionism throughout the world.
At the top of the agenda for the second annual World Congress of the Union Network International is organizing workers on a global scale, an old concept still held by many organized labor groups like the Industrial Workers of the World.
According to a United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) statement announcing the Congress, this yearâ€™s meeting will focus on turning back the tide of corporate globalization through coordinating the efforts of unions dealing with similar industries across the globe.
Wal-Mart is a prime target for UNI efforts. According to a Network report released in March, the downward pressure on wages Wal-Mart uses to keep lowering prices on consumer goods has a detrimental effect on communities throughout the world. The UFCW has been engaged in a lengthy â€“ and so far unsuccessful â€“ struggle to unionize Wal-Mart workers.
Joseph Hansen, president of the UFCW, has held the UNI presidency since the organizationâ€™s first Congress in 2001 in Berlin. Hansen is running for a second term and faces no opposition, the statement said.
Founded in 2000 in response to concern that corporate globalization is further weakening the rights of workers, UNI counts over 15.5 million members belonging to 900 unions from more than 140 countries, according to the UFCW announcement.