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JUHANI ARTTO
HOMEPAGE 2013

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Jyrki Raina writes about the project
to create the first trans-Atlantic union

Helsinki (18.06.2007 – Juhani Artto) Two months ago the United Steelworkers (USW) from the USA and two unions from the United Kingdom, Amicus and T&GWU, announced their intention to merge into the first trans-Atlantic trade union.

Certainly, the first reaction of numerous union activists around the world, when reading the news, was to think about how the merger project relates to the efforts to strengthen the global unions, such as IMF, UNI, ITF, PSI and a handful of others.

Recently Jyrki Raina, one of the most visible Finns in the international trade union movement, approached the same question in his column in Ahjo, the magazine of the Finnish Metalworkers’ union.

“The reasons (for the project), presented by Amicus and USW leaders, are interesting. They want to create an international trade union that really would be able to negotiate on working conditions, by virtue of their 3.4 million rank and file members, on an equal footing with the multinationals.”

The goal also is to prevent employees from competing against each other, Raina explained to his readers. In addition, Amicus and USW plan to work together in development projects in Columbia, Africa, India and China, he went on.

And Raina reported that among the leaders of the International Metalworkers’ Federation the trans-Atlantic merger project has caused fears. What will be the fate of the global federation, especially when Amicus and USW believe that other unions will join the merger project, several IMF leaders have wondered.

According to Raina representatives of Amicus and USW have assured that they do not plan to create an international organisation that would compete with the metalworkers’ IMF.

At the end of his column Raina envisages that perhaps the merger project – “the crazy dream” – will push others to think about how, in the 21st century, labour from all countries can really unite all their forces.

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