Multinational Union Joins a Growing Number of Unions "Engaging" with China's Official Union

April 18, 2005

The Union Network International (UNI) management committee has announced on its Web site that it will move to increase contacts with the All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU). The move follows UNI’s December 2004 visit to China.

UNI based its decision on the growing number of multinational firms operating in China and China's growing importance in the global economy. UNI plans to target specific multinationals, particularly Wal-Mart, for organizing campaigns. UNI General Secretary Philip Jennings commented, "We will engage with the ACFTU and we will not forget our basic message of freedom of association and democracy."

Union Network International is a global organization with 900 affiliated unions with 14 million members in 140 countries. Individual affiliate membership in UNI derives from membership in the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC), the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), and the Global Union Federations. Although the largest U.S. federation, the AFL-CIO, is a member of the ICFTU, American unions are deeply split on whether or not to have any association with the ACFTU, because Chinese law and government policy prevent Chinese workers from organizing free and democratically-governed trade unions.