And you thought Wal-Mart was big, with its 1.8 million employees. Check
The United Steelworkers announced yesterday that it would seek to merge with
two large British unions, Amicus and the Transport and General Workers Union,
in a move that would form the first trans-Atlantic labor group.
Gathered at a convention in Ottawa, the leaders of the three unions said that
they would seek to negotiate a merger within 12 months, with the combined
union expected to have more than 2.6 million members…
Including retirees, the merged union would represent 3.4 million members
in the United States, Canada, Britain and Ireland.
Wow. This makes sense, of course: in order to face up to union-busters with
millions of employees, it helps if the unions have millions of members.
Quote of the day comes from Derek Simpson, the general secretary of Amicus:
“The only beneficiaries of globalization are the exploiters of
working people, and the only way working people can resist this is
to band together.”
Of course, we capitalist running dogs would not agree with him on that front:
globalization has benefitted workers around the world, although it’s true that
benefits to the 3.4 million members of the new combined union have been much
lower than the costs.
The really good news is that the union leaders are making noises about representing
oppressed workers from Colombia to India. If they eventually start getting some
developing-country members, then maybe they’ll understand that what’s good for
a lot of their poorest members will entail costs for a few of the richer ones.
It’s a trade-off, to be sure, but it’s also a positive-sum game. The biggest
task facing the new union will be to help manage globalization and bring its
benefits to labor around the world, rather than to rail against it in a knee-jerk