Back to the union basics, British-style

By BERRY CRAIG

AFT Local 1360

“Changing the world of work for good” says a sign over the front door of Congress House, London headquarters of the British Trades Union Congress, a labor federation similar to the AFL-CIO.

It's more than the TUC motto. It reflects the federation's mission in theory and practice.

Google "TUC" and "Changing the world of work for good" and you'll find online a comprehensive plan to help unions thrive, not just survive, in less than union-friendly times.

Britain's working class is saddled with a fiercely anti-labor Tory-majority Parliament. The Labour Party warns that harder times for workers loom if  pro-Brexit Boris Johnson--Britain's Donald Trump--becomes the next prime minister.

Anyway, the TUC plan seems a good one for unions on our side of the pond, too.  

Our unions are in the same boat as British unions. Trump is the current field marshal in the GOP's Thirty Years' War against organized labor. Matt Bevin is his Kentucky brigadier.

Okay, the plan has three parts: "About the TUC," "What is a union" and "Find a union for you." 

Of course, British workers who pack union cards know about the TUC and how unions work. That's likewise for us regarding the AFL-CIO and our unions.

But a lot of British and American non-union workers, especially younger workers, know little about organized labor or about the benefits of collective bargaining. The TUC plan is designed to clue them in and get them in a union.

So here’s the TUC plan in a nutshell:

About the TUC

The TUC exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions.

What is a union

When a group of workers act and speak together, their employer has to listen. That’s how unions make things better at work.

Find a union for you

So why not find out which union is the right one for you, get a group of mates together in your workplace, and join a union?

I’m sure our union brothers and sisters in the TUC would be happy for us to take some hints from them about how they're working to increase union power in soul-trying times for organized labor.

Besides, Kentucky has a London, Glasgow, Manchester, Winchester, Newport, New Castle, Carlisle, Bedford, Mayfield, Glencoe, Dover and Somerset.

I’ve talked (and commiserated) with TUC staff about politics and the long-running, right-wing assault on unions in both our countries. The staffers understand the vital importance of international union and working class solidarity.

"We believe in standing up and joining together to make the working world a better place," says the TUC's website. So do we in AFL-CIO-affiliated unions. 

Click here to learn more about the TUC and its many programs.