The struggle never stops!

torresBy Miguel Torres

President of the National Confederation of Metalworkers, the Metalworkers’ Union of São Paulo, and Vice President of the Força Sindical

Economic globalization, responsible for the global expansion of multinational companies and financial markets, and the movement of production from one country to another, demands that the labor movement build a global force to allow its actions to have a wider reach in defense of the labor and social rights of the working class around the world.

It is essential, therefore, to accelerate the exchange of information and experiences among union leaders and workers around the world. Our most recent experience in this regard has been with the UAW (United Auto Workers), in a campaign against the anti-union practices adopted by Nissan at their plant in Canton, Mississippi, where Nissan is trying to prevent workers from having union representation to defend their rights.

American workers and UAW leaders came to Brazil in search of support for their campaign, with the significant presence of the actor and social activist Danny Glover. We, the Força Sindical, reciprocated the visit and went to the United States to intensify the campaign of solidarity. We met with union leaders, politicians, community activists, religious leaders and students.  We planned new joint actions and learned first-hand how the Nissan workers live.

The CNTM (National Confederation of Metalworkers) has discussed how union networks can be used to strengthen the union activity of workers of the same multinational – or transnational – at several plants of the same company around the world in support of better conditions of life and work.

At the national level, we are in the midst of significant contract negotiation campaigns in auto and other sectors, trying to win real wage increases and a reduction of working hours.  But the Brazilian labor movement also faces enormous challenges in advancing the agenda of workers, mainly due to the lack of dialogue with the federal government and the strong presence of conservative voices in political decisions.
A fight that is at the top of our agenda is the campaign against Bill 4330, which would expand outsourcing and precarious labor relations in Brazil. With a strong union presence in Brasília, we are trying in every way possible – with protests, debates and communications with union members – to stop this bill that would diminish labor rights.  And we are defending the union rights that we won over years of sacrifice, struggle, sweat and organization.

Let’s fight together to build the struggle in defense of the working class in Brazil and around the world. The mission of unions is critical to achieving a better, dignified life for everyone.