This week, the AFL-CIO joins much of the global labor movement in Brazil to participate in the 13th Congress of Brazil’s largest labor organization, the Central Ăšnica dos Trabalhadores (CUT). Fred Redmond, AFL-CIO vice president and United Steelworkers vice president for human affairs, is leading the AFL-CIO delegation.
Addressing the entire congress, Redmond pointed out the many challenges workers face in both Brazil and the United States, calling for unity and solidarity to move forward. In particular, he denounced the anti-worker laws and policies being driven by right-wingÂ presidentsÂ in Brazil and the United States toÂ weaken unions and collective bargaining.
Redmond also lamented that the current presidents in both countries have risen to power and exercise it byÂ increasing fear and hatred, especially racial prejudice, rather than by leading.
Finally, he rallied the hundreds of delegates to the global labor movement’s call for theÂ immediate release of Brazil’s former president, Luiz InĂˇcio Lula da Silva, unjustly imprisoned for the lastÂ year and a half. Redmond closed by announcing to the crowd the upcoming visit of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (UMWA) to present the 2019 George Meanyâ€“Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award to Lula in prison. The decision to give the award to Lula wasÂ announced in March.
This article was originally printed on AFL-CIO on October 11, 2019. Â Reprinted with permission.
Brian FinneganÂ is a Global Worker Rights coordinator for the AFL-CIO