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
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
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
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