February 15, 2006

Union Members Convene in NYC

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Over 500 union activists and academics from 55 countries gathered in New York City for the first ever Global Unions Conference last weekend. Prof. Kate Bronfenbrenner, the director of the Labor Education Research Program, described the conference as a “historical event.”

“That many unions, that many people, this has never happened before,” said Bronfenbrenner.

The “Strategic Corporate Research Presentations on Target Companies” were a major part of the conference. These talks were designed for unions to share and learn information and techniques for dealing with specific companies.

Bronfenbrenner described the process as “people thinking of strategies to shift the corporate labor balance.”

Although there was no official response by any of the companies analyzed in the conference, employees of Exxon-Mobil from Cameroon, Bangladesh and Nigeria all had problems obtaining visas to attend the conference, according to Bronfenbrenner. Luckily, the Cornell administration got involved, spoke to the U.S. State Department, and the unionists were able to attend.

However, French activist Jos