BWI: Another world is possible

As part of its efforts to support this year's World Social Forum (WSF), BWI’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) organised a webinar which presented some of the best trade union campaigns in the region led by the youth and women.

Titled “Construction and Building Material Women and Young Unionists in Latin America,” the WSF-registered event was participated by trade union leaders and civil society activists from Brazil, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Curaçao, Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, United States of America, Germany, Spain and Bulgaria. 

SUNTRACS started the discussion by presenting its "Hungerless Lockdown" campaign, which exposed and opposed the country’s poor handling of the pandemic and demanded better health, food and working conditions for Panama’s working people. Eliéser Córdoba, 1st Vice President of BWI’s Regional Youth Committee for LAC and SUNTRACS youth leader, showcased the strong participation of young people to the union’s campaign. 

UOCRA and UOLRA followed shortly after by presenting their respective campaigns. Sebastián Marza of UOCRA narrated its “addiction prevention” campaign, a youth-led effort to raise awareness on drug prevention and treatment among construction workers. Meanwhile, UOLRA ‘s Ana Lemos showed how women workers can become leading voices in trade union advocacies. Under its "I Do Work, Not Just Help’ campaign, the union empowered women brickmakers by helping them craft trade union gender policies at their workplaces. This coincided with BWI’s “16 Days of Trade Union Activism against Gender-based Violence last year.

Similarly, FEDESOMEC highlighted its efforts against gender-based violence, particularly in Ecuador’s recent ratification of ILO Convention 190. Faviola Rueda said that their campaign was led by women workers operating heavy construction machinery. She said that the campaign included a first-ever discussion among women and men workers on how to address gender-based violence from a trade union perspective. 

The WSF is an international open space organized by social movements to deliberate on alternatives to neoliberal globalization. It was founded in 2001 in Porto Alegre, to counter the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.