Joy Anne Grune


[Excerpt] Today, huge companies spanning the face of the earth are mounting a global challenge to the living standards and dignity of working people. While it may be expensive and difficult to build a genuine international labor movement, particularly one that is democratic and accords women full participation, this era requires exactly that. The international trade secretariats (ITSs) are excellent vehicles for the labor movement to do this work.

It is important that more unionists and activists know about the ITSs, and that international action be better integrated strategically into domestic organizing and bargaining. This will help ITSs realize even more of their potential for linking unions around the world in common struggles, and this also helps national unions achieve their immediate goals. This article describes one of the most active ITSs in North America — the International Union of Food and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF) — paying particular attention to the IUF's emphasis on the problems of women workers.