Workers from around the world, including those exiled from Belarus, Eswatini and Myanmar for forming unions, striking and trying to speak freely, describe why democracy is important—and why unions are key to democracy—in a special episode of The Solidarity Center Podcast.

This week, high-level policy makers, including U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, are gathering for Summit on Democracy events in Washington, D.C., and in Zambia, where the spotlight will be on how to amplify worker voices to safeguard democracy in Africa and globally. (Register for an official Summit side event in Zambia focused on worker rights.)

“Workers know the importance of unions to democracy—and what democracy means in their lives,” says Solidarity Center Executive Director and Podcast host Shawna Bader-Blau. “The union movement is the strongest voice for democracy.”

One of the workers the episode highlights is Lizaveta Merliak, a union leader exiled from Belarus, who speaks out from Germany, where she and other union leaders were forced into exile.

“I’m one of a few trade unionists who escaped from Belarus after the liquidation and repression of democratic trade unions—unlike my comrades, leaders, and activists of democratic trade unions who are jailed and tortured in prisons.

“We must support the aspirations for democracy in every way we can and, at the same time, preserve and develop the idea of grassroots democracy at workplace. We will revive the independent trade union movement in Belarus, with the aim of creating a democratic society based on the principles of social justice and decent work.”

Listen to the full episode here.

Follow the Summit for Democracy events on Twitter @SolidarityCntr and on Facebook at Solidarity Center.



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