A number of Ukrainian trade unions, including the national union of nuclear plant workers, have donated portions of their salaries to Ukrainian aid and defense charities. In the first 10 days of the war, these trade union salary donations amounted to nearly $500,000.
One of the largest private-sector unions in Ukraine, the trade union of Nova Poshta (a shipping and logistics firm with operations also in Europe and the United States), conducted national and international fundraising to support its members displaced and in need, as well as the families of volunteers for Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces. In the first week of the war, the Nova Poshta trade union collected 795,000 hryvnia (about $27,000) for member assistance. In the first few days of outreach, 118 internally displaced people and refugees received aid, as did 45 families of members who were mobilized. The union expects this aid effort to grow quickly in the weeks ahead.
The Nova Poshta union, founded in 2015, signed its first collective bargaining agreement in 2016. Its pre-war membership was approximately 14,000 workers, and the collective agreement covers 27,000 employees.
The union’s work is in addition to that of the company, which is delivering humanitarian assistance from around the world to locations where it is needed most in Ukraine.
Although the Nova Poshta union is particularly active in solidarity support, many others are also assisting members during this crisis. These include fundraising and mutual aid efforts by the Union of Metal and Mining Workers, which has contributed over $35,000 to support families of mobilized soldiers.
Here’s How You Can Help
You can help Ukraine’s workers and their families by donating to the ITUC’s emergency fundraising appeal. The ITUC’s Ukrainian member organizations, FPU and KVPU, are providing support to families who desperately need assistance with food and water, medical supplies and hygiene items. Donate here.
You can also support these organizations also providing emergency assistance to people under bombardment or seeking refuge from the war:
Statement by the NED Family: The National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, the Center for International Private Enterprise, and the Solidarity Center:
Vladimir Putin’s illegal and unjustified attack on a sovereign, free Ukraine is a watershed moment in the struggle for human freedom. To meet this moment, we are determined to support democracy activists on the frontline with the same sense of urgency they bring to their own national struggle. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its four core partners—the National Democratic Institute (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) and the Solidarity Center—stand in support and solidarity with our Ukrainian grantees, partners, staff, and their loved ones in Ukraine.
Since gaining independence in 1991, the people of Ukraine have time and again demonstrated their overwhelming desire to live in a free and democratic nation. We have been inspired as millions of Ukrainians have worked tirelessly and optimistically to build democratic institutions and practices in their country. Ukraine’s progress and commitment to this goal is what threatens and provokes Vladimir Putin. A democratic example on Russia’s border and a people with a shared culture and history who choose their own leaders, hold them accountable, and display a clear desire to join the community of democratic nations, represent an existential threat to Putin’s more than two-decade rule in Moscow and his ambition to dominate Russia’s neighbors.
Ukraine today is the epicenter of the fight for freedom in the world. The courage of the Ukrainian people—their willingness to risk everything to confront Russian aggression and defend their homeland—is an inspiration. They are a powerful example to all those worldwide who are joined in the struggle against authoritarian regimes that deprive free peoples of their basic rights and liberties, steal national wealth, attack and imprison political opponents, and silence independent media.
So too are the thousands of Russians and Belarusians who have risked arrest or worse to protest this criminal act of aggression. On Sunday, February 27, 2022, more than 10,000 people visited the memorial near the Kremlin marking the spot where Putin’s democratic rival, Boris Nemtsov, was assassinated seven years earlier. This is what Putin, and all dictators fear—ordinary citizens who would like to choose their leaders in free and fair elections and hold those leaders to account.
As the Ukrainian people struggle to preserve their sovereignty, their democracy, and their hopeful future, it is time for all those worldwide who live in freedom to rally to the cause of a free Ukraine.
Putin’s attack on Ukraine comes at a moment when democratic institutions are being systematically undermined across the globe and authoritarian regimes are growing in number and strength. Alert to a great danger, democratic societies should make every effort to secure the freedoms we cherish, the institutions we have built, and the values we have affirmed, to promote a more secure, just, and peaceful world.
Ukraine’s defense should become the valiant first chapter of a global democratic revival. In this task, we are committed to supporting a great coalition of courageous and creative political leaders, civic activists, independent journalists, labor organizers, entrepreneurs, and ordinary citizens who will lead the way.
NED: Christine Bednarz, email@example.com, (202) 200-6872
NDI: Victoria Benner, firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 728-5550
IRI: Ryan Mahoney, email@example.com, (202) 914-1617
CIPE: Pam Kelley Lauder, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-721-9200
SOLIDARITY CENTER: Kate Conradt, email@example.com. 202-316-3301