By David Sole
The “Solidarity Center” is an organization affiliated with the American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). Its stated goal is to “help build a global labor movement by strengthening the economic and political power of workers around the world through effective, independent and democratic unions.”
The Solidarity Center was established in 1997, but its predecessor groups were well known to be tools of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department. During South Africa’s racist apartheid government the American Institute for Free Labor Development was well known for trying to break up the South African unions affiliated with the African National Congress, which had strong relations to the Communist Party.
In 2002 the Solidarity Center received $154,377 from the “National Endowment for Democracy” to help promote a coup against the socialist government of President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. All this and more is well documented and known to progressives around the world.
Therefore it is quite remarkable to note that the Solidarity Center has just published a detailed report on union busting by the Ukrainian government led by President V. Zelensky, which is financed by the United States government.
The report is titled “More Attacks on Rights of Ukrainian Workers” and dated August 23. It states that “President Volodymyr Zelensky last week signed into law legislation that deprives around 73 percent of workers of their right to union protection and collective bargaining.”
The report goes on “The Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine (KVPU) stated, ‘KVPU will not tolerate a blatant violation of the rights of workers, their constitutional guarantees and international norms and standards. We will continue the fight for workers’ rights.’”
This latest enactment is apparently part of an ongoing broad attack on labor rights in Ukraine. “The law, which amended the Labor Code of Ukraine, is the latest in a string of legislation targeting worker rights and the ability of unions to function freely. For the past two years, lobbyists have pushed laws in Parliament that reduce wages, limit the use of formal contracts that ensure workers have job stability and weaken their collective voice by targeting unions. Under the restrictions of martial law and the chaos of war, members of Parliament have passed many of these measures,” the report says.
Ukrainian workers are also looking at future attacks by their U.S. backed regime and plan to “vigorously oppose dozens of other anti-labor and anti-union pieces of legislation that government lobbyists are trying to push through the Parliament,” the FPU says.”
Of course the AFL-CIO and its affiliates never spoke up against the 2014 CIA coup that overthrew the elected Ukrainian government, replacing it with a pro-U.S. regime linked to neo-fascist militias. Nor did they raise their voices when these fascists attacked the House of Trade Unions in Odessa, burning it to the ground killing dozens of people.
The U.S. union officialdom has not condemned the U.S. government for promoting the policies of their Kiev puppets that resulted in the Russian Federation’s special military operation beginning February 24, 2022 and the ensuing bloody war. In fact U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has publicly proclaimed the U.S. goal in financing tens of billions of military aid to Ukraine is to “weaken Russia.”
Some U.S. unionists, however, have spoken out strongly against the U.S. government policies and the Zelensky puppet regime. The “Labor Committee Against the U.S. Proxy War” in Ukraine statement, signed by numerous union members, said in part
“Congress is quick to act to fatten the military contractors at the same time we have no baby formula and millions don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Poor and working people are suffering a 10% pay cut due to record inflation. Workers’ rights and voting rights, the foundation of “democracy,” are ignored and threatened. The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act and the Women’s Health Protection Act cannot get any Congressional action. We demand an immediate end to the U.S. proxy war in Ukraine. Money for housing, health care and education, not war abroad.”
The full statement is available at LaborAgainsttheWar.net