LEPAIO, the Labor Education Project on AFL-CIO International Operations (https://aflcio-int.education/), condemns the AFL-CIO’s leadership for bullying affiliates on international issues, and especially regarding the current Israel and Gaza war. LEPAIO, an organization of labor unionists and supporters, has long challenged the AFL-CIO’s international leadership “labor imperialism” in its international operations.
In fact, LEPAIO just held an educational conference and protest outside of the AFL-CIO headquarters in September 2023, condemning again the AFL-CIO’s participation in the coup that overthrew the democratically-elected President of Chile, Salvador Allende, on September 11, 1973.
The AFL and subsequently the AFL-CIO have long had a reactionary foreign policy over the last 100+ years. This has included helping to overthrow democratically-elected governments (Guatemala, 1954; Brazil, 1964; Chile, 1973; and Venezuela, 2002). They have supported dictators, including Suharto of Indonesia; Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines; a string of dictators in South Korea; a string of dictators in Taiwan; and Mobutu in Zaire. They also have been extensively involved in undermining militant labor movements in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, who were seeking to advance progressive, life-enhancing efforts by workers and their allies in these regions.
This work continues—with some modification—through the so-called Solidarity Center today. The Solidarity Center, the international wing of the AFL-CIO, gets over 90% of its funding from the US Government, is active in over 60 countries, and no one knows why: no AFL or AFL-CIO operation has given an honest account of its international activities that can be independently verified in over 100 years!
And yet, the AFL-CIO quashes efforts by members, through their central labor councils, to democratically oppose its undemocratic and reactionary labor policies.
We urge labor councils NOT to give in to AFL-CIO threats—speak out against their atrocious international program—and to sue them for their undemocratic actions in courts of law. It’s time we, AFL-CIO member organizations and affiliate-members, stand up to their bullying!