[Excerpt] For many of us who are concerned with international labor issues, a new image has come to represent our collective understanding of the global economy. It is an image of women in Third World nations toiling under sweatshop conditions in huge assembly plants owned by U.S.-based transnational corporations (TNCs).

Yet what does international solidarity really mean in practice? Who does it include, and how? From a U.S. standpoint, if so many women workers are not organized into unions, how can they be included in international networks? If their voices are not heard, what can these networks hope to accomplish?

This article explores these questions by looking at the experience of several groups in promoting international communication among women workers in the nonunion sector. It is excerpted from The Global Factory: An Organizing Guide for a New Economic Era. The complete publication, developed by the American Friends Service Committee, surveys the efforts of many different kinds of groups, inside and outside the trade union movement, to build international labor networks.