This new e-book by retired UE Director of International Affairs Robin Alexander tells the story of the partnership between the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) and the Mexican Frente Auténtico del Trabajo (FAT), a story that is a testimony to the power of rank-and-file solidarity.
Praise for International Solidarity in Action
Robin Alexander has written what is a political memoir, an analysis of the struggle for militant, democratic unionism in Mexico, and a strong argument for international working class solidarity. This is a compelling examination of the efforts by a USA-based union — the United Electrical Workers (UE) — and an independent Mexican labor federation — Frente Auténtico del Trabajo (FAT) — to forge a working strategic alliance. What makes this examination so interesting is that it evaluates the experience of moving beyond ‘resolutionary solidarity,’ i.e., the over reliance on passing resolutions at conventions where nothing further happens, and instead into the approaches and means that can be undertaken to build worker power across borders. This is the book that is needed to spark deeper strategic thinking in our efforts to build the international solidarity of the oppressed in this world of increasingly authoritarian capitalism.—Bill Fletcher, Jr., coauthor of Solidarity Divided, author of “They’re Bankrupting Us” – And Twenty Other Myths about Unions, and former president of TransAfrica Forum
This timely e-book builds up to the story of labor law reform in Mexico, getting there via micro-histories of some of the struggles to win against the corrupt charro unions, worker-to-worker exchanges among UE and FAT members, and cross-border cultural projects. Consequently, the reform process really does come across as the culmination of real workers’ struggles, and not as an imposition from above, or the technical fiddling of lawyers.—Ashwini Sukthankar, former coordinator of the International Commission for Labor Rights and former director of global campaigns for UNITE HERE
At a time when we need global unions perhaps more than we have ever before, the story of the UE-FAT cross-border relationship provides just the inspiration and model needed.—Kate Bronfenbrenner, Director of Labor Education Research at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations
Corporate globalization has destroyed millions of good jobs in the U.S. through trade deals like NAFTA. Robin Alexander’s book demonstrates that the most effective way for workers to fight back is by building links with workers in other countries. Her account of our union’s alliance with the FAT shows how worker-to-worker exchanges can transform attitudes and lives, and how international solidarity can win real victories for working people.—Carl Rosen, UE General President
As a long time member, activist, and leader of the UE and its international work, I highly recommend sister Alexander’s work and this book as critical pieces to understanding what is meant by “member-to-member” international trade union solidarity work. Her account provides valuable insights and will deepen the understanding of the necessity and potential for US workers to join hands with trade unionists and workers from other countries.—Peter Knowlton, retired UE General President
Robin’s book is an excellent source when it comes to understanding what international solidarity has meant for workers in a ‘right to work’ state like North Carolina. Even though we have yet to repeal the state law that prohibits collective bargaining, the lessons, tools, networks we built, petitions, delegations, workers we met, hearings, and even a few legislative actions have all been valuable parts of the UE-FAT relationship that help us keep moving forward with our eyes on the prize!—Larsene Taylor, retired UE Local 150 President