On 7-9 August, the Brazilian unions that are part of the International Network of Cement Workers met with the United Steelworkers Union to exchange experiences on trade union networks, policies and programs on Occupational Health and Safety, and collective bargaining negotiations. The meeting took place in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and was organized through the partnership between the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) and the Solidarity Center of AFL-CIO.
The meeting started with a special panel on the struggle of workers in the Americas, held at the headquarters of the Federation of Workers in the Construction and Furniture Industries of Rio de Janeiro (FETICOM RJ). The panel had a contribution from the Congressman and BWI Vice-President for Latin America and the Caribbean Bebeto Galvão, who shared the history of the political crisis that impacts Brazil currently, the BWI Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean Nilton Freitas made a reflection of the regional context and the struggles of US workers was shared by Carolyn Kazdin Director of Strategic Campaigns completing the scenario of workers' struggle in the Americas.
On the next day, the unions of both countries shared the economic perspective for the sector, occupational health and safety, collective bargaining and union organizing strategies. This framework was built by union leaders from both countries with the support of the Inter-union Department of Statistics and Socioeconomic Studies (DIEESE in Portuguese) and the Regional Superintendence of Labor and Employment of Rio de Janeiro (labor inspection).
The work in the third day was focused on the debate on discrimination at the workplace and the construction of a joint work plan that was characterized by the use of communication tools, mutual commitment with solidarity actions, dialogue between unions representing the workers of Lafarge-Holcim in both countries, the attempt to build framework agreements with other companies in the sector with plants in these countries such as Votorantim and, where necessary, the use of international mechanisms to denounce anti-union practices.