International Solidarity in Action: Victory for Union Rights in the United States

Media trades unionists in the United States today celebrated the recognition of the right to organise for workers employed at the Spanish news agency following an organising drive at news centres in New York, Washington and Miami.

Following ground-breaking transatlantic co-operation among trades unionists the TNG-CWA, which is affiliated to the International Federation of Journalists, has gained the right to represent workers at the Spanish-language EFE News.

TNG-CWA’s News Media Guild President Tony Winton worked on the campaign as did representatives of Spain’s Comissiones Obreras and Comité Intercentros, the EFE works council in Spain. The Comissiones Obreras is also a member of the IFJ.

Winton sent a message to the IFJ and the Spanish Union in which he expressed thanks for international support in the campaign. “Thank you for your tireless help in supporting this effort,” he said. “I am not exaggerating when I say that without the help of the CCOO, the Comite Intercentros, and the International Federation of Journalists, our victory would not have been as strong.”

“Once again we see the value of international co-operation and solidarity in union work,” said Aidan White, IFJ General secretary. “Linking unions together around the world is critical if workers want to fight the immense power of multinational companies and protect their own social and economic rights.”

Until now workers at the EFE offices in the US have had inferior working conditions to those of the workforce in Spain, where workers are covered by a negotiated agreement.

"The outreach to EFE management by the IFJ and the solidarity of our colleagues in Spain made this victory possible,” said Linda Foley, President of TNG-CWA and IFJ Vice President. Without their help, our new members at EFE would continue to be bereft of a democratic voice in their workplace."

The organising drive at the EFE bureaus in the three U.S. cities started after two former UPI members of local 31222 contacted the union seeking assistance in organizing their workplace. EFE’s bureau in Puerto Rico is also organized. In December 2004, seven EFE News employees in Puerto Rico voted to join UPAGRA Local 33225.

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The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries