first constitutional convention of the newly established Latin American Trade Unionists Coalition (LATUC).
The historic event involved over 200 trade unionists from several different countries representing a large number of Latin American experiences and backgrounds. The three day gathering focused on strengthening the international network formed by the creation of LATUC in 2009, developing a course of action, and determining the new organization’s constitution, which the delegates unanimously ratified.
“One of the Canadian labour movement’s most valuable and underappreciated resources is its diversity,” says UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley, who attended the founding convention. “As employers become more and more globalized, the Canadian labour movement needs to draw from the diverse experiences of its activists and encourage them to use their international relationships to build international solidarity.”
In addition to UFCW Canada, a number of other Canadian social justice organizations and progressive media outlets participated in the historic convention, including the United Steelworkers (USW), the Canadian Union of Public Employeers (CUPE) National, Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW), Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), CUPE Ontario, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), CUPE 4400, Voces Latina Radio, Worker2Worker, and CUPE 2191.
Delegates also elected the members of LATUC’s 20-seat National Coordinating Committee (NCC), which provides leadership while ensuring representation for women, Afro-Latinos, youth and the organization’s leading affiliated unions.
The conference also drew delegates from Argentina, Cuba, Mexico and Venezuela, including Latin American labour leaders Martin Esparza from SME (the Mexican Electricians’ Union), Jose Montes de Oca and Ruben Garrido from the Central de Trabajadores de Argentina (State Workers Association of Argentina).
“Multinational corporations like Walmart exploit workers in Argentina just like they exploit workers in Canada,” says Brother Garrido. “National labour movements act individually instead of coordinating their fights against multinational corporations, when companies like Walmart coordinate their labour relations all across the globe, but with LATUC the international labour movement now has a bridge for communication and strategy that can only help workers in the struggles that we all share.”
For more on LATUC and its founding convention, go to www.latuc.ca.