USW Lauds Brazilian Unions Asking Obama to Support Wisconsin Workers

Pittsburgh–(ENEWSPF)–March 21, 2011.  In a letter to President Barack Obama on March 19, six Brazilian labor confederations expressed their solidarity with public employees in Wisconsin and other states who are fighting to defend collective bargaining rights.

The letter, addressed to the President during his visit to Brazil, states that the Brazilian unions “are surprised, and must register our protest, that on the grounds of ‘budgetary reasons’ some U.S. state governments are limiting and even extinguishing basic rights won by public employees.”

“We deeply appreciate the solidarity of our Brazilian sisters and brothers,” said United Steelworkers International President Leo W. Gerard.  “The Brazilian labor movement fought to bring down a dictatorship that banned collective bargaining, so they know what they are talking about.”

The Brazilian unions called on the United States to guarantee “full freedom of association, collective bargaining, and freedom of expression and assembly” for public employees.”

The six national confederations that signed the letter are the CUT, Forca Sindical, CTB, UGT, Nova Central, and CGTB. The signees represent nearly five million affiliated workers, while bargaining for some 50 million formal sector workers in the country.

The USW represents 1.2 million active and retired workers in North America in a wide variety of industries and both the public and private sectors.