Unions are a fundamental component of a free and democratic society, and freedom of association—workers’ right to form and join unions and pursue their interests collectively—is the foundation for all other worker rights. The Solidarity Center trains union organizers, shares information with union activists, and provides support for struggling unions all over the world.
Freedom of association is the underpinning of every democratic society. Without the right to organize, people have no way to strive for economic and social justice. A union is a group of workers who come together to win respect on the job, better wages and benefits, and more flexibility for work and family needs. Unions are built through the active participation of its members, and encourage political participation at the grassroots and national levels. Unions equalize the balance of power between employers and employees by giving workers a voice. Union members have a say about pay, benefits, and working conditions. With a union, workers have a voice on the job and the ability to improve their lives and their communities. Without unions, workers have little or no recourse when their rights are violated. Without collective bargaining, they have no way to improve their wages and workplace conditions.
In many countries, governments and multinational companies routinely deny workers their legal right to form free and independent unions. Anti-union tactics include dissolving unions, denying unions legal recognition, seizing union property, violently repressing strikes and marches, and imposing legal restrictions that threaten to legislate many unions out of existence. Year after year, union activists are fired, arrested, attacked, and even killed for exercising their legal right to free association and a voice on the job. In cooperation with union partners, the Solidarity Center develops comprehensive workers education programs that meet the challenges of today's global economy. We support organizing campaigns, educate workers about their legal right to form a union, and promote strong labor laws.