The Paradox of Labor Transnationalism:
Northern and Southern Trade Unions and
the Campaign for Labor Standards in the WTO
Department of Government, Cornell University
* The author thanks Roy Adams, Teri Caraway, Peter Katzenstein, Anouk Patel-Campillo, Richard Seigel,
Sidney Tarrow, and Danielle Van Jaarsveld for their comments on earlier versions of this paper. A version
of this paper was presented at the 2001 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association,
Hilton San Francisco and Towers, August 30 – September 2, 2001.
Organized labor in most countries is in trouble. According to a study by the
International Labor Organization (ILO 1997:6), “Workers’ organisations are
experiencing serious difficulties almost everywhere and are losing members.” Of the
countries studied by the ILO, “about half have seen a considerable drop in their
membership” (ibid.). Only 14 countries have unionization rates above 50 percent, while
in over half the countries studied less than 20 percent of non-agricultural workers belong
to unions. In many cases, in those sectors that are unionized, unions have achieved less
than in the past. For example, in the manufacturing sector, since the mid-1980s often real
wages have not kept pace with gains in productivity. 1
The decline in union power has been associated with many causes. Some scholars
point to increased competition through trade liberalization (Wood 1994), or factory
owners using the threat of moving production abroad to increase their bargaining
leverage over labor (Bronfenbrenner 1997). The shift to a service economy has also been
noted, as has the introduction of people-replacing technologies (Kapstein 1996). A third
and perhaps more significant factor adversely affecting labor is the increased
segmentation of production through global outsourcing (Gereffi 1994). This factor may
be especially useful in explaining the growing gap between productivity gains and
changes in real wages, and declining union power at the plant level (Anner 2001).
Given these developments in trade and production patterns, there is a growing
perception that labor will have to develop new strategies, including strategies that
complement local organizing with international campaigns (Tilly 1995; Gordon and
Turner 2000). But it is less clear what sorts of international campaigns will be the most
effective. Several new strategies are emerging or evolving from old strategies. Targeting
multinational corporations (MNCs) is an old strategy but it may be taking on new forms,
particularly when combined with consumer activism (Anner 2001). The social clauses in
some bilateral trade regimes, such as in the U.S. General System of Preferences, have
occasionally provided labor with a powerful tool to reform labor laws and ensure greater
In the U.S. auto sector, while productivity increased by 19% from 1984 to 1994, real wages declined by
0.41%. This trend is even more apparent in the apparel sector where during this period in the U.S.
production per worker increased by 57% while real wages declined by 5%. And in developing countries the
gap is even greater. In the Dominican Republic, where productivity is 70% of the U.S. rate, wages are 14%
of U.S. wages. In Thailand, productivity is 65% of that in the U.S. yet wages are only 8% of U.S. wages.
compliance with existing legislation (Frundt 1998). Codes of conduct and private
monitoring mechanisms have offered yet another, albeit controversial, venue (see Fung,
O’Rourke, and Sabel 2000 and responses).
A fourth approach involves targeting international institutions (Wilkinson and
Hughes 2000). The World Trade Organization (WTO) has become one of labor’s greatest
targets for several reasons. First, unlike its predecessor, the General Agreement on Trade
and Tariffs (GATT), the WTO is potentially open to all trade-related issues. Governments
that systematically permit labor rights violations in export sectors to lower costs and
increase competitiveness could be regarded by the WTO as engaging in an unfair trade
practice (Wachtel 1998). Second, unlike the International Labor Organization (ILO)
the international institution designed to deal with labor issues the WTO has a dispute
settlement system that has the power to sanction (O’Brien, Goetz, Scholte, and Williams
2000). Labor has long been frustrated with the ILO’s reliance on moral persuasion
This paper will focus on labor’s strategy to pursue its demands by pressuring an
international institution. It looks at the campaign of the International Confederation of
Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) to ensure respect for core labor standards through the
mechanisms of the WTO. Core labor standards include the rights of labor to organize and
bargain collectively, prohibitions of forced labor and child labor, and the elimination of
wage, employment and occupational discrimination.2 This paper focuses on the ICFTU’s
campaign leading up to the 3rd Ministerial Meeting of the WTO in Seattle in late 1999. In
addition to examining the relationship between an international organization (the ICFTU)
and an international institution (the WTO), this paper also explores the internal
relationship between the ICFTU and its national union affiliates. That is, I do not assume
that international organizations are unitary actors. They include a variety of members that
have different interests, resource capabilities, and perceptions of the problems they
confront. How diverse actors within the same international organization establish and
(Jacobs, Handbook of U.S. Labor Statistics ; Kurt Salmon Associates, cited in Business Week, May 3, 1999,
These labor standards have been established by the International Labor Organization (ILO), which
consists of a tripartite structure that includes trade unions, business, and governments from around the
world. At the 1998 ILO conference in Geneva, members agreed to respect these core conventions.
then modify goals and strategies is an important part of the dynamics of transnational
I will argue that, in addition to the aspects of economic globalization that are
adversely affecting segments of workers in all countries, southern unionists3 due to
their more limited resources and lack of access to international institutions —find it
especially useful to establish relations with stronger unions in developed countries. These
relations are important for southern actors because northern unionists have greater
resources, and are based in countries in which the headquarters of international
institutions reside and thus tend to have greater access to these institutions. Consequently,
northern unions have a privileged position in deciding what to prioritize, how to frame
issues, and what tactics to use. That is, the same factors that make northern alliances
appealing for southern actors also create conditions through which southern actors can
lose control over the strategic direction of campaigns. This may result in agendas that do
not reflect the core concerns of those they portend to represent and tactics that may not
work well in all contexts. I refer to this process as the ‘paradox of labor
The ICFTU campaign for core labor standards in the WTO in many ways
illustrates this paradox. Most southern unionists supported the campaign out of
recognition that national and sub-national strategies were increasingly less effective in
achieving labor’s goals. Yet these same southern unionists expressed the concern that the
campaign tended to be northern dominated, and that key concerns of southern unionists
regarding development-related demands and tactics were not given the necessary
This paradox is not fixed in stone; over time it may be mitigated by several
factors. For example, affiliation to an international organization that establishes
democratic mechanisms for participation may lessen northern control. But most
organizations either explicitly or implicitly favor the largest and the richest members.
Nonetheless, there are other mechanisms of change available to weaker members.
In this paper, I will use the term “northern unionists” to refer to unionists in the US, Canada, Europe and
Japan, the advanced capitalists countries that account for 80% of the world economy. “Southern unionists”
refers to everyone else. Certainly there are important differences within both the north and the south and
when appropriate I will refer to a few.
Building on social movement theory (Tarrow 1998), I argue that weaker members of
organizations may take advantage of internal opportunities, mobilize resources, and
frame issues in ways that resonate with social norms to slowly increase their involvement
in campaign activities and strategic decision-making processes. In the ICFTU campaign,
this process is far from complete and the campaign is a long way from being controlled
by southern unionists. But it does suggest that it is necessary to study various iterations of
campaign activity to better understand the dynamics of the relationship among actors.4
After reviewing some theoretical considerations, I will analyze the ICFTU
campaign paying special attention to how strategy was developed, implemented, and
perceived by unionists in developing countries. I will then explore the mechanisms of
change within the ICFTU in the post-Seattle period. Research for this paper included
forty-seven interviews with unionists and a few government and WTO officials in
Geneva, Brussels, Norway, Brazil, and South Africa (See Appendix I). Unionists from
Brazil and South Africa received particular attention because they were very active in the
campaign and provided critical leadership and voice for unionists in developing
Studying Transnational Politics
After a hiatus of over two decades since Nye and Keohane (1971) seminal book,
transnational relations is once again receiving attention in the field of international
relations. Risse-Kappen (1995) sought to “bring transnational relations back in” not by
discounting the role of the state in international politics, but by analyzing transnational
state-society interactions. Risse-Kappen focuses on humanitarian concerns, such as
human rights campaigns, taking the study of transnationalism away from its previous
focus on economic issues such as MNCs.
Keck and Sikkink (1998) also focus on humanitarian, or ‘value-based,’
campaigns. They develop a framework for studying transnational relations in which
“Transnational Advocacy Networks” pressure states and international institutions. This
framework includes a ‘boomerang pattern’ of transnational relations. They write, “When
channels between the state and its domestic actors are blocked, the boomerang pattern of
I am grateful to Peter Katzenstein and Margaret Keck for this point.
influence characteristic of transnational networks may occur: domestic NGOs bypass
their state and directly search out international allies to try to bring pressure on their
states from outside” (1998:12).
The Keck and Sikkink model is insightful in many regards. Keck and Sikkink
rightly recognize that states are not unitary actors, and that non-state actors such as NGOs
play an important role in international relations. At the same time they note, unlike earlier
transnationalism literature, that states remain important in the dynamics of transnational
activism. Moreover, they correctly see that actors are motivated not only by material
interests but by norms as well. Yet their framework suffers from several shortcomings.
First, Keck and Sikkink’s model tends to prioritize the relationship between domestic
NGOs and states, giving less attention to international organizations and institutions.5
(For the opposite approach, see O’Brien, Goertz, Scholte, and Williams (2000), who
focus on the relationship between multilateral economic institutions and global social
movements.) A richer model would incorporate both types of relationships into one
broader framework. As we will see, such a broader framework is depicted by the ICFTU
Second, Keck and Sikkink suggest that labor transnationalism would take on
different dynamics than those of value-based organizations given that labor is a
‘bounded’ organization that seeks material interests (1998:15). While labor
transnationalism has its uniqueness, I would suggest that the distinction between
humanitarian/non-material transnationalism and labor/material transnationalism is
sometimes overdrawn. Certainly Brazilian rubber tappers who fight to defend the
Amazon are at least as interested in their economic well-being as in environmental
concerns. And women’s movements that fight discrimination are as interested in the
material benefits of increased wages as the norm of equality. In a similar vein, garment
workers who suffer sexual harassment, physical abuse, and below subsistence wages are
as interested in dignity and respect at work as they are in economic betterment. This
allows us to examine transnationalism in a broader comparative perspective where labor
The author thanks Sidney Tarrow for this observation.
is studied alongside humanitarian movements. It also suggests the need to account for
both material interests and norms when studying transnationalism.
Norms certainly mattered in the ICFTU campaign.6 Indeed, the goal of the
campaign was to address the violation of labor rights norms by institutionalizing norm
compliance through the mechanisms of the WTO. One of the first challenges facing
movement activists is to frame issues in ways that resonate with dominant cultural
understandings (Snow et al. 1986). Klotz and Lynch (forthcoming) note, “Emerging ideas
need to be ‘packaged’ or ‘sold’ in reference to prevailing norms, not solely in terms of
their instrumental advantages.” The ICFTU portrayed the globalizing world economy as
part of a fierce competition among multinational corporations in a ‘race to the bottom’ to
find which country would offer the lowest wages, the least protective labor legislation,
and the weakest health and occupational standards. To stop the race to the bottom
countries must be forced to comply with universal labor standards that would provide a
floor below which no country could drop (ICFTU 1999). But reference to normative
understanding was not enough. Labor was particularly concerned with acquiring the
support of strong states. As Sidney Tarrow observes, “Even when international normative
consensus [is] lacking, strong states [can] endow international institutions with the
authority to enforce behavior consistent with these norms” (2001:7). So both material
power and normative framing matter in accounting for movement dynamics.
Third, Keck and Sikkink do not fully explore discord and power imbalances
within transnational networks. As Jordan and Tuijl (2000) argue, “Tensions arise when
NGOs active in campaigns fail to understand the political responsibilities that arise in a
campaign process” (2000:2052). They continue, “The relationships that emerge among
NGOs engaged in global campaigns are highly problematic. If not handled with care,
they may reflect as much inequality as they are trying to undo” (2000:2061). Uvin (2000)
also emphasizes the dramatic inequality among nongovernmental organizations. He
explains, “A disproportionate number [of the richest NGOs] are located on the same 50
square miles of the world’s surface as are most of the other powerful institutions” (Uvin
By ‘norms’ I follow Peter Katzenstein (1996:5) who defines them as, “collective expectations for the
proper behavior of actors with a given identity.”
2000:15). He adds, “A small proportion of [global civil society] control the purse strings
for the vast majority of the others” (Uvin 2000:16).
Regarding transnational labor strategies, Fung, O’Rourke, and Sabel (2000:14)
emphasize, “It is crucial that the voices of workers in developing countries be present in
this debate. Though international labor standards are pursued in their name, they are too
seldom heard in discussions about standards and enforcement.” French (2001:11) refers
to “northern labor rights rhetoric that seems to suggest … that it is the workers of the
advanced capitalist countries who are the primary or main victim of today’s world
system.” French refers to the need for an “anti-hegemonic” social clause that should be
based on firm multilateralism, as opposed to aggressive unilateralism. It also would
address the needs of workers in the informal and traditional agricultural sectors, areas
overlooked in much of the debate but where the majority of workers in developing
countries can be found.
Finally, the Keck and Sikkink framework focuses on one type of organization,
that of a network. Yet, as Tarrow (2001) suggests, in studying transnational campaigns it
is important to make the distinction between Keck and Sikkink’s advocacy networks and
International Nongovernmental Organizations (INGOs). Tarrow (2001:12) defines
INGOs as “organizations that operate independently of governments, are composed of
members from two or more countries, and are organized to advance their members’
international goals and provide services to citizens of other states through routine
transactions with states, private actors, and international institutions.” By Tarrow’s
definition, the ICFTU is an INGO, although labor unions strongly dislike being labeled as
such. The ICFTU sees itself as a democratic, mass-based organization representing 156
million members who indirectly pay membership dues to the organization. That is, for
international labor unions there is a clear sense of to whom they are accountable, which is
not always the case with many NGOs.
While labor unions are a somewhat unique organizational form and have many
unique functions, the general analytical distinction between a transnational network and
an international organization remains important. Keck and Sikkink’s networks are
“characterized by voluntary, reciprocal, and horizontal patterns of communication and
exchange” (1998:8). International organizations tend to be more vertically structured.
This is certainly the case of the ICFTU and, as we will see, this had important
implications for the WTO core labor standards campaign.
International organizations have a much easier time centralizing strategic decision
making and then requesting membership compliance. This can be both a strength and a
weakness. It is a strength because it ensures coherence and focus to the campaign. It can
be a weakness because the ability of weaker members of the organization to question
strategies that might not be appropriate in their contexts is curtailed. As one labor leader
admitted in reference to the WTO campaign, it is not always clear when members in
developing countries [support campaigns] out of conviction or out of loyalty.7 This
dilemma of conviction versus loyalty is most likely greater in INGOs than in
transnational networks given the obligations that organizational membership entail. But
networks might have other limitations, such as a limited ability to hold network leaders
accountable to a membership base. Finally, the large, structured bureaucracy of big
international organizations suggests that they change slowly in comparison to more
loosely structured transnational networks.
Campaigns are dynamic. Seldom are the exact same patterns of interaction that
are present in one phase of a campaign repeated in the next phase. If, given the paradox
of labor transnationalism and the structure of the ICFTU, southern unionists have a
limited influence over campaigns, the question remains how and why might this situation
change. (Here I am assuming that power relations among members of the ICFTU remain
the same.) Sidney Tarrow (1998) argues that social movements, when confronting more
powerful forces, exploit opportunities, mobilize resources, and frame issues so that they
resonate favorably with dominant social values. I will suggest that some of these same
dynamics are at work when less powerful members of an organization attempt to change
policies within that organization. In the ICFTU campaign, southern unionists exploited
the opportunity presented by the failure of the WTO ministerial meeting in Seattle, joined
forces among themselves and with several allies in northern Europe, and framed their
demands in terms of norms that resonated within the organization.
International Organizations: Labor and the ICFTU
Author’s interview with Eddy Laurijssen, Assistant General Secretary, ICFTU, Brussels, June 20, 2000.
Since the 19th Century, labor unions have sought to develop transnational ties.
Early organizations tended to focus on specific economic sectors and were mostly limited
to Europe, yet labor also experimented with broader international organizations. The
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) was founded in 1949 but it
was preceded by several other international labor organizations going back to the late
1800s (Carew, Dreyfus, Van Goethem, Gumbrell-McCormick, and van der Linden 2000).
The ICFTU presently has 221 affiliated organizations representing 148 countries and 156
million members. It is the largest international labor organization in the world.
The ICFTU decision-making procedures mostly follow a traditional trade union
model. The congress is the maximum authority and it meets once every four years.
Delegates to the congress, who have the right to vote on all important matters, are chosen
based on the number of members of each member organization, with a minimum of one
delegate and a maximum of 20. The ICFTU’s constitution also stipulates that Europeans
should have the largest number of representatives on the Executive Board, 15. Asia is
given 8, while Africa and Latin America are given 6 each.8 All ICFTU general secretaries
have been European. Indeed, the single most common criticism of the ICFTU is that it is
too European based. Gumbrell-McCormick (2000) writes:
The European affiliates had always been by far the largest section of the ICFTU
membership; [not including the AFL-CIO] they provided almost 60% of total
membership, and a significantly higher proportion of the confederation’s finances … It
was essential that the development of ICFTU policies and structures satisfied the
requirements and objectives of the Europeans … but it was a delicate task to achieve this
without unduly offending affiliates in other parts of the world.
The membership make-up, the voting structure, and patterns of financial support indicate
that we would find a certain European (or northern) bias in the ICFTU. This would
include how the ICFTU organizes campaigns such as the WTO campaign. It is also
noteworthy, however, that since the end of the Cold War, several large, left-oriented
labor centers have joined the ICFTU, including the Congress of South African Trade
Unions (COSATU) of South Africa, and the Sole Workers’ Center (CUT) of Brazil. This
has shifted the balance of power within the organization somewhat.
International Institutions: The WTO as a Threat and an Opportunity
ICFTU, ICFTU Constitution as amended by the Seventeenth World Congress, Durban, April 2000.
<www.icftu.org/www/pdf/Const-E.pdf>, (accessed August 4, 2001).
The 1995 formation of the WTO marked a new phase in the era of international
market liberalization and the campaign for labor rights. Prior to 1995, trade negotiations
focused mainly on tariff reduction. With the 1995 Uruguay Round of the General
Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) that established the WTO, the scope of trade
negotiations expanded to include the service sector, intellectual property rights, rules on
investment, and potentially many more issues.
The formation of the WTO also gave the process of multilateral trade negotiations
a more structured institutional framework. Most notably, the dispute settlement system of
the WTO is stronger than that of the GATT. Since it is no longer necessary for member
states to unanimously accept reports, it is more likely that the enforcement mechanism
will move forward. This gives the WTO much greater power to ensure compliance with
its rules. It also means that countries will have less autonomy to pursue trade policies that
are most conducive to their particular level of development. Further, the formation of the
WTO politicizes the multilateral trade negotiations process due to the frequency of
ministerial meetings and the more direct involvement of upper-level governmental
representatives. (O’Brien et al. 2000).
For the ICFTU, the WTO and the restructuring of the international rules-based
trading system provide both threats and opportunities for labor. The WTO is committed
to liberalizing trade and has the power to force countries to open their economies in ways
that can hurt the most vulnerable sectors of the working population. Yet the power of the
WTO enforcement mechanism could provide the most effective tool to date by which
trade unions could defend internationally recognized labor rights. The ICFTU argued that
the WTO system could make respect for core labor standards enforceable in a very real
Yet there are potentially a few risks involved in empowering the WTO to enforce
labor standards. More powerful states, most notably the United States, could employ their
power and influence to use the WTO rules against competitors based on that country’s
violation of labor standards. Labor rights violations take place fairly systematically not
only in poor countries but also in developed countries such as the U.S. (Compa 2000), but
it would be highly unlikely that a poor country could successfully bring a case against the
U.S. The ICFTU responded to this risk by placing the burden of determining when labor
rights had been violated in the hands of the ILO. Another risk, which was raised by
several ICFTU members, was that the WTO could accept a workers’ rights clause but
very little would change in practice. The result would be to legitimize the WTO without
receiving much in return (Gumbrell-McCormick 2000). The ICFTU seemed to feel that
the WTO was not going away and that any change, no matter how small, would be better
Campaigning for Labor Standards in the WTO
The first opportunity for the ICFTU to achieve its demand for a labor rights clause
in the WTO came at the first WTO Ministerial Meeting in 1996 in Singapore. Prior to the
Singapore Ministerial, there was very little discussion among ICFTU affiliates,
particularly affiliates in developing countries, regarding the core labor standards
campaign.9 The campaign was largely developed by the ICFTU’s Brussels office. The
ICFTU informed its affiliates of the ICFTU position on labor standards at a meeting right
before the Singapore Ministerial began.10 At Singapore, heads of state did not accept the
ICFTU proposal for a core labor standards, but the ICFTU did manage to ensure that the
subject of core labor standards was mentioned in the final declaration.11 After the
Singapore Ministerial, with pressure from several affiliates to increase the participation of
member organizations in the campaign, the ICFTU established an ad hoc task force,
which was later formalized as the Task Force on Trade, Investment and Labor Standards
(TILS). TILS consisted of representatives of member organizations (including members
of developing countries) and was designed to share information and to develop activities.
Interview with Leonard Larsen, Oslo, Norway, June 2000. The exception is Latin America, where the
Inter-American Regional Organization of Workers (ORIT) began an active campaign with its affiliates
prior to Singapore. (Interview with Barbara Shailor, Washington, October 10, 2000.)
Interview with Jon Ivar Nålsund, Head of the International Department, the Norwegian Confederation of
Trade Unions (LO-Norway), Oslo, Norway, June 21, 2000.
However, the final statement was somewhat contradictory. The portion of the Singapore Declaration that
refers to labor rights reads:
We renew our commitment to the observance of internationally recognized core labor
standards. The International Labour Organization is the competent body to set and deal
with these standards and we affirm our support for its work in promoting them. … In this
regard, we note that the WTO and ILO secretariats will continue their existing
The statement provides something for everyone. Supporters of linking trade to core labor standards, such as
the ICFTU, could find satisfaction in the first sentence where it is stated that countries would respect core
labor standards. Yet opponents point to the second sentence, noting the ILO is the proper place for such
matters. The final sentence is misleading since there is not, nor has there ever been, a mechanism of
collaboration between the WTO and the ILO.
The work of TILS was facilitated when the Norwegian Confederation of Trade
Unions (LO-Norway) decided to fund many of its activities. Most of LO-Norway’s funds
were dedicated to ensuring the more active involvement in the campaign of unionists
from developing countries. The Norwegian government and Norwegian unionists wanted
to encourage the participation of unions in developing countries to ensure that core labor
standards would not be used for protectionist purposes. According to a representative of
LO-Norway, Norwegians are particularly aware of the need to find mechanisms to ensure
the participation of less powerful members in international organizations since “Norway
is such a small country and, as a result, has struggled with this issue itself.”12
Prior to the second Ministerial meeting of the WTO in Geneva in May 1999,
TILS organized a three-day conference for its members. One of the main goals of the pre-
Ministerial conference was to prepare unionists to lobby their governments on the issue
of core labor standards. The headquarters of the ICFTU developed the arguments and
then shared them with member organizations. The task of the member organizations was
to convince their governments of the merits of these arguments. This strategy had little
impact at the time in part because the Geneva Ministerial was more about marking the
GATT’s 50th anniversary and less about discussing substantive issues. Given the
ceremonial nature of the Geneva Ministerial, the ICFTU increasingly focused its attention
on the 3rd Ministerial, scheduled to begin in late November 1999 in Seattle, Washington.
That is, Seattle became somewhat of a showdown for the ICFTU labor standards
The ICFTU campaign to influence the 3rd Ministerial meeting of the WTO was
laid out in the background document for the December 1998 ICFTU seminar on
“Globalization, Investment and Labor Standards”. In that document, the ICFTU proposed
several activities, including: (1) The organization of 12 sub-regional and regional
activities to allow affiliates to discuss the campaign strategy to achieve the campaign
goals at a national level; (2) The targeting of developed countries and regions such as
Japan and the E.U. where governments appeared to be favoring a purely ILO-based
approach to the labor standards issue; (3) The exploration of possible NGO alliances.
Interview with Leonard Larsen, Oslo, Norway, June 2000.
In a document widely distributed to its members, the ICFTU developed several
arguments in favor of a workers’ rights clause in the WTO, and a plan for how this would
work in practice. One of the more important proposals which is often overlooked in the
debates on this issue is that it should be the ILO with its tripartite structure, and not
the WTO, that should decide if a country has violated core labor standards. The role of
the WTO, as a last resort, would be to ensure compliance through “possible trade
Most of the campaign budget went to regional, sub-regional and national
seminars. According to the ICFTU, the intention of these meetings was to “galvanise
support for the workers’ rights clause in the mechanisms of the WTO” in preparation for
the third WTO Ministerial meeting.14 After each event, participants were encouraged to
write letters to heads of state, trade ministers, and finance officials, using a model letter
provided by the ICFTU. Affiliates were also encouraged to request that their
governments allow them to be part of the official national delegation to the Seattle
These tactics combined to form a four-part strategy developed during a TILS
seminar held in Geneva in December 1998. According to the strategy, the ICFTU first
would develop the overall arguments and rationale of the campaign and, through regional
and sub-regional activities, inform national union affiliates about the goals (step #1).
National affiliates would then be called upon to aggressively lobby their governments
(step #2). Governments would then, it was hoped, support the trade-labor rights linkage at
the Seattle Ministerial and force the WTO to accept labor standards as part of its
framework (step #3). Finally, the WTO would use its new labor rules to force member
states to comply with core labor standards (step #4). (See Appendix II.)
This model presents several important modifications to other models of
transnational activism. Unlike the Keck and Sikkink (1998) boomerang pattern,
international organizations and institutions figure prominently. And unlike the O’Brien et
al. (2000) model where global social movements target multilateral economic institutions,
Many observers assumed ‘possible trade measures’ to include ‘sanctions,’ but the ICFTU avoided
referring to sanctions in its public statements.
ICFTU/AFRO. 1999. “Report and Plan of Action on the West and Central African Sub-regional
Meetings on International Labor Studies Standards and Globalisation.” memo.
states remain crucial actors. Indeed, while several studies of the WTO-labor campaign
focused on the events in Seattle that targeted the WTO, few mention the amount of work
the ICFTU and member organizations did to lobby national states prior to Seattle. This,
however, comprised a greater share of the ICFTU’s efforts. Many studies, I would
suggest, often miss the full dynamics of transnationalism because they focus on the large
events like Seattle. But they miss the many smaller events that take place in the months
leading up to the large events. It is only by exploring both types of events that we can
fully understand how the activities of international organizations and institutions combine
with those of national state and non-state actors.
Core Labor Standards and the Seattle Ministerial
The ICFTU campaign culminated with the Seattle Ministerial meeting that began
on November 29, 1999. The result of the Seattle Ministerial meeting of the WTO is well
known. Trade ministers failed to agree upon the launching of a new round of multilateral
trade negotiations. While street protesters undoubtedly added to the tension, most
observers concur that the Ministerial collapsed due to unresolveable disputes among
member countries. The labor rights issue was certainly one bone of contention, but
disputes on more conventional issues such as agriculture, dumping, textile and apparel
restrictions, and investment — also prevented countries from reaching a consensus on the
negotiating agenda (Elliott 2000).
The debate on the specifics of core labor standards issue started prior to Seattle in
the WTO preparatory meetings in Geneva. The U.S. government in October 1999 stated
its support for a working party on labor standards inside the WTO, although the U.S.
proposal did not cover the enforcement of labor rights with trade sanctions. According to
French (2001), the U.S. government was responding to the AFL-CIO’s demand to
support labor standards in the WTO because the Clinton administration was interested in
regaining the support it lost from labor during the NAFTA debate.
In early November, the E.U. informed the WTO of its support for a joint standing
forum between the WTO and the ILO on trade globalization and labor issues. The
European Union was seen as becoming more responsive to the idea of international core
labor standards in part due to the election of several labor party governments. However,
the idea of a forum was seen as a slightly more modest proposal than the U.S. call for a
working party since it did not entail the creation of a body exclusively within the WTO.
The E.U. proposed the use of positive incentives in the form of additional trade benefits
for developing countries that respect core labor standards. While the U.S. was the most
favorable to linking labor standards to trade through the WTO and the E.U. represented a
moderate position, developing countries were the least supportive. On November 2,
developing countries represented by the G-77 informed the WTO that they objected to
addressing labor rights in the WTO in any form.15
The Seattle Ministerial began on November 29. On December 1, the Seattle Post-
Intelligencer published an interview with then U.S. President Clinton who commented:
What we ought to do first of all is to adopt the United States’ position on
having a working group on labor within the WTO, and then that working
group should develop these core labor standards, and then they ought to be
a part of every trade agreement, and ultimately I would favor a system in
which sanctions would come for violating any provision of a trade
The comment by Clinton provoked an immediate backlash among developing countries
that had long suspected that the objective of the core labor standards campaign was to
apply sanctions. In the closed-room meeting on core labor standards, the U.S. proposal
for a working party lacked support and was not considered. Rather, the discussion started
by looking at the E.U. proposal, which called for a joint ILO-WTO standing working
forum that would exist outside the WTO structure. But even this provoked strong
opposition from several developing countries. Then, on December 3, thirty-five countries
attended a final meeting chaired by Costa Rica.17 The Costa Rica chair proposed the
formation of a discussion group. Unlike earlier proposals, in the Costa Rican proposal
this discussion group would not report to the WTO, nor would the WTO be responsible
for contacting heads of international organizations to establish the group.
In sum, over the course of the Seattle Ministerial, the core labor standards
proposal had been diluted so much that it reflected very little of the original ICFTU
proposal. This final proposal on core labor standards was on the table when the
Inside U.S. Trade, November 5, 1999; November 10, 1999.
Cited in Michael Paulson, “Clinton Says He Will Support Trade Sanctions for Worker Abuse,” Seattle
Post-Intelligencer, December 1, 1999, p. A1.
Among those countries present at the meeting were the U.S., South Africa, Brazil, Pakistan, Morocco,
Singapore, India, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Norway, Korea, Hungary, Thailand, Colombia, and Bolivia.
ministerial meeting was suspended, thus it does not formally represent a consensus
document. However, according sources from Inside U.S. Trade (Dec. 10, 1999:18),
“most countries participating in the group accepted most of its elements.” Top officials at
the WTO who internally refer to it as “The Costa Rica Document” consider this
proposal the starting point for any future discussion on the issue.
The ICFTU strategy of developing ‘talking points,’ educating members on these
talking points, and then providing model letters and encouraging unionists to lobby
government officials had not produced the desired results. The weakest component
involved governments of developing countries, which unanimously rejected the ICFTU
proposal. Certainly, some of these governments were very conservative and
undemocratic. But others, such as the South African government, were not. Why these
governments failed to support the proposal is analyzed below, as is the position of top
WTO officials. This discussion is followed by a more detailed treatment of the view of
southern unionists of the campaign.
WTO and Governments’ Reflections on the ICFTU Campaign
WTO representatives note that there is a sense among member states that the
labor issue is not going away.18 Thus, an important indirect consequence of the ICFTU’s
campaign was the increased recognition that labor rights are an important issue that must
be addressed more adequately on an international level. Yet WTO officials also argue
that the entire ICFTU campaign was too northern based. They ask that if the ICFTU
campaign was to benefit workers in developing countries, why were almost all the public
and most prominent spokespersons for the campaign from developed countries. Terje
Johannessen, the Norwegian WTO Ambassador prior to Seattle, agrees. He argues that
one of the greatest limitations of the ICFTU campaign was the lack of “convincing
supporters.”19 What these external critics emphasize is that it is not simply the message,
but the messenger, that matters.
The ICFTU considered the South African government as one of its key southern
supporters largely because at the 1998 Geneva Ministerial Nelson Mandela spoke in
favor of international labor rights. Yet a closer inspection of the South African position
Interviews by the author with several high ranking WTO officials who requested to remain anonymous,
Geneva, July 30, 2000.
Interview with author, Oslo, June 22, 2000.
reveals much skepticism. Alec Erwin, the Minister of Trade and Industry, expresses the
position of the South African government in this way: “We are not opposed to labor
standards. Trade and labor standards are related. But you can’t make this part of the
[WTO] dispute settlement mechanism because that is unworkable and will have the effect
of being protectionist.” 20 Erwin notes that the international trade system protects industry
and agriculture in the North. This forces the South to exploit workers even more in order
to compete in a trading system that is balanced against it. It is contradictory for developed
countries to require greater respect for labor rights without giving developing countries
the greater market access that would provide the economic conditions conducive to
respect for labor rights.
For Erwin, both the message and the messengers made the campaign very suspect
and resulted in its failure. He states, “The U.S. unions have a position that they’ve always
had. It is protectionism. There is absolutely no question about it. The E.U. and the
Scandinavians are a bit different. They are more sophisticated, more subtle on this.”21
Erwin notes that northern unionists, particularly those from the United States, were the
most forceful in demanding inclusion of labor standards in the WTO. He states, “In
Seattle if you listened to the speeches, [the unionists from the developing countries] like
Mexico and South Africa, used more muted and cautious words.”22
The position of the South African government is important is several regards.
South Africa is a leader for much of the Third World, and it is a democratic country with
close ties to labor. If the ICFTU could not get the South African government to support
its demands, it is hard to imagine any southern government that would support the
Reflections from South African unionists
Ebrahim Patel, Deputy General Secretary of South Africa’s largest labor
confederation, COSATU, agrees with some of Erwin’s views, although he would not
argue that U.S. unions are strictly driven by protectionist goals. However, Patel forcefully
argues that the campaign needed to be more controlled by southern actors. He says:
Interview with author, Pretoria, South Africa, July 5, 2000.
We haven’t succeeded in making the social clause a demand of the South.
It is still a demand of the North supported by some unions in the South.
We need to shift the epicenter to the South to the point that it is our
campaign supported by the ICFTU and affiliates in the North as opposed
to being seen to be a northern campaign supported by unions in the
Patel notes that the international labor movement could have done a better job of
convincing the media and critics that the campaign was not about northern protectionism.
But to do this, northern unionists would have to show that they are prepared to pressure
their governments to allow for greater market access for products from poor countries.
The union movement could be even more active on the Third World debt issue. In the
words of Patel, “If a union in a First World country speaks on behalf of workers in the
Third World there is a degree of public skepticism. So therefore you need action that
backs up that talk that says, ‘look, here are the actual sacrifices that we are prepared to
Patel adds, “I believe the trade-labor rights link is the right link. I don’t think that
we should give it up. I think we must clean it up. In a global economy, trade and
investment are two fundamental levers that the labor movement has with which it can
influence the conditions in which labor is performed. But unions in the South should toss
around the idea of social clauses. If they come up with some variation on the ICFTU
strategy, so what. That is how you involve the movement. [...] Give affiliates ownership
over the campaign; it puts energy into the fight.”25
Patel’s comments reflect the paradox of labor transnationalism. He notes that
there is a need for the South to have international levers, but there is tendency for
northern allies to control transnational campaigns. Patel suggests that a more southern-
controlled campaign would take on not only different demands but also different tactics.
He notes that the degree and the nature of trade union influence on governments in
developing countries is not the same as trade union influence on governments in
developed countries. There is a different logic and institutional relationship. Moreover,
there is important variation among developing countries. While South African unions
Interview with author, Cape Town, South Africa, July 5, 2000.
have a great deal of influence, other unions in developing countries have very little
influence over their governments. For Patel, lobbying works best in democratic countries
while other forms of protest activities are potentially more productive in political contexts
where democratic rights are curtailed.
Reflections from the CUT of Brazil26
Like COSATU, the Brazilian labor center, CUT, supported the ICFTU campaign
in general, but also expressed a need for the campaign to better reflect the needs of
workers in the South. The CUT reviewed the campaign carefully before making a
decision to support it. CUT leaders had several concerns. They wanted to know who
would decide if a country is violating a labor right, what would be affected if the country
is found in violation, and what would be the punishment. The CUT eventually found the
ICFTU position on these issues acceptable and decided to support the campaign. Yet the
CUT also argues that the campaign for labor rights must be integrally linked to the theme
of sustainable development.
For Kjeld Jakobsen, the International Secretary of the CUT, in order to achieve
success in the future, the ICFTU and its affiliates need to clarify goals and mechanisms,
and need more and better alliances with organizations fighting the adverse effects of
economic globalization on poor and working people. In sum, the CUT, like other unions
in developing countries, argues that the core labor standards campaign must be linked to
other development issues, must incorporate a broader array of alliances, and must rely
less on lobbying and more on social movement politics. Like the suggestions of Patel,
this implies a need to prioritize, at least at times, the interests of workers in developing
countries over the interests of workers in the North. It also suggests a modified
organizational structure, one that is much more horizontal and flexible regarding strategy
implementation. The question is why, if at all, the ICFTU would respond to these
Other union views
Other unionists from developing countries expressed concerns about the
conceptualization of the campaign. For example, in the conclusions from a conference
This section is based on the author’s interview with Kjeld Jakobsen, acting President, CUT, São Paulo,
Brazil, July 10, 2000.
organized in Ghana on the topic participants noted, “Discussions should address a whole
range of development aspects including developing countries’ needs concerning …
[market] access, environment, investment, poverty, unemployment, social protection and
gender. Other issues that were most likely to attract the attention of government officials
were agricultural policies, tariffs, anti-protectionism, debt crisis, etc.”27 In Tunis,
unionists called for the creation of permanent specialized committees in the WTO that
would deal with issues such as the debt problem, poverty alleviation, technology
transfers, and the rights of workers to freely emigrate, in addition to international labor
standards.28 These comments highlight the concern of unionists from developing
countries that the ICFTU did not adequately link the core labor standards’ demand to
broader development-related demands. The fact that the campaign was not significantly
modified prior to Seattle suggests some limitations in the ability of actors in developing
countries to have a large influence over strategy development.
Discrepancies between the ICFTU Brussels office and some of the ICFTU’s
members in developing countries were also apparent regarding civil society alliances.
The ICFTU noted that it is in favor of building alliances with non-labor civil society
organizations. This is because, according to the ICFTU, it shares many of the objectives
of other progressive sectors when it comes to development, poverty reduction, the
environment, women’s rights, etc. But the ICFTU is also very cautious about how it
builds alliances. The ICFTU expresses its position as follows:
Tactically, while the union movement must focus on core labor standards in the
run-up to the 3rd Ministerial, we should broaden our agenda in order to build
coalitions. Debt write-off, transparency, technical barriers to trade, disputes
settlement procedures, environmental issues, gender, poverty, food security and
human rights concerns were issues important to NGOs and should be highlighted
by the trade union campaign in order to gather people behind our banner at the 3rd
Several unionists in developing countries argue that the ICFTU should have supported
these issues not only for tactical reasons, but because they are important for workers in
developing countries. For example, for José Chavez of the Ecuadorian Confederation of
ICFTU, “Final Declaration: Sub-Regional Seminar for the Maghreb countries.” Tunis, 13-15 July 1999.
ICFTU, Report of ICFTU Conference on “Globalisation, Investment and Labor Standards” (Geneva, 7-
9 December 1998).
Free Trade Unions (CEOSL), one of the most important issues for workers in his country
is the national debt. For Kjeld Jakobsen of the Brazilian CUT, the issue is employment
opportunities. He observes, “What good is it for me to have the right to negotiate
collectively if I don’t have a job?”30
Many unionists in developing countries are less wary about developing alliances
with other civil society organizations. Given the distorted and partial patterns of
industrialization in many developing countries, many traditional industrial unions never
acquired the degree of power and representation enjoyed by similar unionists in
developed countries. Workers in developing countries often relied on alliances with other
sectors of society to promote their demands.31 On the other hand, unions in developed
countries, most notably the United States, are only recently discovering the importance of
these alliances. The AFL-CIO broke with many U.S. progressive movements when it
supported the U.S. war in Vietnam. This situation has only recently begun to change with
the end of the Cold War and the election of a new union leadership in the mid-1990s. The
ICFTU is also only recently and somewhat cautiously strengthening its non-labor civil
Explaining Change: The Campaign after Seattle
In the wake of the Seattle Ministerial, the ICFTU began to make some important
changes in the campaign. First, the emphasis of the campaign has shifted somewhat.
Statements in 2001 in particular have reflected increased attention to other development-
related issues. In an April 2001 declaration on the upcoming WTO Qatar Ministerial, it
noted the need to focus on development priorities such as debt relief, market access, and
availability of AIDS/HIV drugs.32 Other ICFTU statements referred to the growing
interest on the part of its members to “strengthen [the ICFTU’s] alliances with NGOs,
including consumers’ NGOs, wherever possible, including co-operating to organise
demonstrations as had been done successfully in Seattle in November 1999.”33
Interview with author, São Paulo, Brazil, July 10, 2000.
This is particularly true of some left-oriented unions. More conservative union organizations have
attempted to compensate for their lack of power at the plant level through corporatist arrangements at times
with very right-wing governments. (I am grateful to Anouk Patel-Campillo for emphasizing this point to
ICFTU. 2001, April. ICFTU Statement On The Agenda For the 4 TH Ministerial Conference of the World
Trade Organisation in Qatar, 9-13 November 2001 (2nd Draft).
ICFTU, TILS Task Force, unpublished memo, Brussels, Belgium, June 27, 2001.
In early August 2001, the ICFTU made perhaps its most important shift to date in
its handling of the campaign. It announced its first ever Global Unions’ Day of Action for
Friday, November 9, 2001. The day of action is scheduled to coincide with the first day
of the WTO Qatar Conference. In a message to its members, the ICFTU explains what
the day may include:
As well as meetings and information in work-places, affiliates could
consider a range of actions including demonstrations; work stoppages;
public information and mobilisation efforts; media-oriented actions; and
petitions, based on our common demands. Given the different
circumstances in each country and the specific concerns of unions in
particular sectors, such a day of action will need to include many forms of
The decision marks two important changes. First, the ICFTU call for direct action,
including protest activity, is a change from its prior focus on having top-level union
leaders lobby top-level government officials. Second, the ICFTU is encouraging
members to develop their own strategies of action depending on what would work best in
each country thus showing greater flexibility and acceptance of some autonomous
decision-making power on the part of members.
While some goals and tactics appeared to have changed in the wake of Seattle,
what has not changed is the overall internal structure of participation. The European-
dominated Brussels headquarters of the ICFTU continues to make most of the important
strategic decisions regarding the campaign. This appears to confirm the hypothesis that
large international organizations will change only slowly and incrementally. But the
question remains why any change took place at all, especially given that there was not
any shift in the power relations among members.
Building on social movement theory, I would tentatively suggest that the
exploitation of opportunities, resource mobilization, and issue framing account for at
least some of the changes in the campaign. After the failure of Seattle, the ICFTU
leadership was forced to re-evaluate its strategy. This gave members who were critical of
the campaign an opportunity to voice an alternative view. TILS dedicated several
ICFTU, open letter, July 27, 2001.
sessions to evaluating the strategy.35 Several large, representative members of the ICFTU
from the South began to hold separate meetings to discuss a more southern view of what
the trade union response to economic globalization should be. These meetings were
funded by a few sympathetic northern unionists (internal “allies”), including the
Germans, Dutch, and Norwegians. Finally, while the ICFTU attempted to hold
governments to high standards regarding how they should treat their workers, the ICFTU
leadership itself became vulnerable to normative critics regarding how it should run its
campaigns. Most notably, both internal and external actors argued that if the campaign
was to most benefit workers in the South, than those workers should have a larger say in
the campaign. Such arguments, framed in this way, were hard for the ICFTU leadership
to dispute and thus, in a sense, the ICFTU leadership was backed into a “normative
corner.” The result of all these factors appears to be a modest but important shift in
campaign goals and tactics.
Economic globalization has altered the terrain in which labor endeavors to pursue
its demands. It is increasingly difficult for workers to dramatically improve their living
and working conditions solely through local organizing drives and campaigns. As capital,
goods, and production regimes become more transnationally mobile, labor has found the
need to combine domestic organizing efforts with strong and effective forms of
Labor has experimented with several transnational venues, including targeting
international institutions such as the WTO. The WTO presents an opportunity for labor
because violating labor rights in export sectors can be broadly conceived as an unfair
trade practice that could be addressed through the WTO dispute settlement mechanism.
But the campaign to influence the WTO also presents a few dilemmas, indicative of what
I have labeled the paradox of labor transnationalism. Weak actors in southern countries
need alliances with stronger actors in northern countries to achieve their goals, but it can
become all too easy for northern actors given their greater strength and access to
The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO-Norway), which funded much of the campaign was
allowed to write an evaluation report to be discussed at a TILS meeting. I was the author of that report and
present at one of the evaluation sessions.
international institutions, MNCs, and strong states to take the lead in designing and
implementing campaign strategies and actions. This may result in a displacement or
modification of the original goals of the southern actors.
By in large, unionists in developing countries supported the ICFTU campaign to
pressure the WTO to accept core labor standards in its framework due to the perception
that increased trade without universal labor standards would create “a race to the bottom”
in which countries compete by lowering standards. But some unionists also argued in
favor of broadening the campaign to include other issues. Adherence to workers’ rights
which mostly affect workers in the formal sector — is of limited help to workers in
countries with a large informal sector, high unemployment, and a national debt that
cripples economic growth. Environmental concerns, gender discrimination, and the
availability of AID/HIVs drugs are also issues that concern working people by affecting
both the quality and the sustainability of development. Selectively broadening the
demands of the campaign also provides a means by which to develop strategic alliances
with environmental, human rights, development, and women’s organizations.
While these concerns were not fully emphasized in the ICFTU campaign prior to
Seattle, since Seattle there have been some changes in the ICFTU approach. The ICFTU
has both broadened its demands to include more development-related issues and it has
changed its tactics to include a variety of forms of protest activity. It is not clear whether
this represents a fundamental change in the ICFTU campaign, but it does raise the
question as to how campaign dynamics may change over time. I have tentatively
suggested that weaker actors within organizations may exploit opportunities, mobilize
resources, and frame issues that bring about at least some changes. The paradox of labor
transnationalism is unlikely to be completely overcome, but it can be mitigated.
The experience of the ICFTU campaign for core labor standards raises several
insights in how we explain the dynamics of transnational activism. The Keck and Sikkink
(1998) boomerang pattern illustrates why actors in undemocratic countries might pursue
transnational alliances, but it does not fully explore the effects of power imbalances and
discrepancies within networks. The ICFTU campaign highlights the importance of these
factors with regard to northern versus southern labor unions. At the same time,
frameworks that separate the study of labor transnationalism from that of “value-based”
transnationalism appear to be overdrawn. Often norms and material interests motivate
both categories of activism. Moreover, this paper illustrates how international
organizations and institutions, as well as states and national actors all interact in a more
complete framework. This study also confirms Sidney Tarrow’s (2001) argument that
organizational forms, such as transnational networks and international organizations,
influence the dynamics of transnational activism.
What this paper did not do is fully explore how these dynamics might effect
outcomes. It seems unlikely, to use the counterfactual argument, that had southern
unionists been fully involved in the strategic control over the campaign than the
campaign would have succeeded. The WTO is a very difficult organization to influence,
especially in the short term. This leads to a much larger question regarding what
strategies might in fact be more effective for labor. This is certainly a matter for further
research. But if my initial argument is correct, that labor is most hurt by the changing
structure of production as opposed to increased trade, than a more fruitful strategy might
entail organizing transnationally along chains of production and consumption, and
targeting MNCs. At the same time, it appears true that transnational strategies can never
substitute for good local organizing. Rather, when well coordinated, they can
complement it (Anner 2000). Whatever the case, it seems that no one strategy will
resolve labor’s problem of declining power. The solution to labor’s problems will almost
certainly evolve from a combination of strategies that will vary in degree of effectiveness
according to industries, market conditions, and political contexts.
Appendix I: List of Interviews
1. James Howard, Director, Employment and International Labour Standards, ICFTU,
19 June 2000.
2. Duncan Pruett, IT/Information Co-ordinator, ICFTU, 19 June 2000.
3. Sheena Hanley, Deputy General Secretary, Education International, 19 June 2000.
4. Neil Kearney, General Secretary, ITGLWF, 19 June 2000.
5. Elsa Ramos, Women’s Section/Equality, ICFTU, 20 June 2000.
6. Renata Peltzer, Head of Project Department, ICFTU, 20 June 2000.
7. Eddy Laurijssen, Assistant General Secretary, ICFTU, 20 June 2000.
8. Mies Druyts, Director of Finance and Administration, ICFTU; and Guy Vandebergh,
Finance Department, 20 June 2000.
9. Jim Baker, Director, Multinational Enterprises, ICFTU, 20 June 2000.
10. Mohsen Ben Chibani, Employment and International Labour Standards, ICFTU, 20
1. Leonard Larsen, Head of Section, International Trade Union Solidarity, LO-Norway,
21 June 2000.
2. Enok Nygaard, Head of Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway, 21 June
3. Jon Ivar Nålsund, Head of International Department, LO-Norway, 21 June 2000.
4. Gete Knudsen, Minister of Trade, 22 June 2000. (with Jan W. Grythe, Assistant
Director General, Ministry of Trade and Industry)
5. Terje Johannessen, Former WTO Ambassador, 22 June 2000.
6. Yngve Hågensen, President, LO-Norway, 22 June 2000.
7. Jarle Skjørestad, Former State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 22 June 2000.
8. Knut Vollebæk, former Foreign Minister, 22 June 2000.
9. Erlend Hansen, Department of Industry, LO-Norway, 23 June 2000.
1. John Evans, General Secretary, Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD
(TUAC). 24 June 2000.
2. Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary, COSATU, South Africa. 24 June 2000.
3. José Chavez, COESL, Ecuador. 25 June 2000.
4. Kåre Bryn, Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organisation
and the European Free Trade Association, 26 June 2000.
5. G. Rajasekaran, Secretary General, MTUC, Malaysia. 26 June 2000.
6. G. Sanjeeva Reddy, President, Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC),
India. 26 June 2000.
7. Andrew Kailembo, General Secretary, African Regional Organisation,
AFRO/ICFTU, Kenya, 27 June 2000.
8. Ching Chabo, Director, Economic and Social Policy Department, Asian and Pacific
Regional Organisation, APRO/ICFTU, Singapore. 27 June 2000.
9. Bill Brett, International Labour Organisation (ILO) Workers’ Group, 27 June 2000.
10. Hilda Anderson, Confederacion de Trabajadores de Mexico (CTM). 28 June 2000.
11. Betty Cortez, CUT, Peru, 28 June 2000.
12. Luis Anderson, Secretary General, Organización Regional Interamericana de
Trabajadores, ORIT/ICFTU, 28 June 2000.
13. Mike Waghorne, Assistant General Secretary, Public Service International (PSI), 30
14. Evan Rogerson, Director, Ministerial Sessions Division, World Trade Organization,
30 June 2000.
15. Jan Eirik Sorensen, World Trade Organisation, 30 June 2000.
16. Keith Rockwell, Director, Information and Media Relations Division, World Trade
Organisation, 30 June 2000.
17. Michael Moore, Director General, World Trade Organisation, 30 June 2000.
1. Simon Boshielo, International Officer, COSATU, 3 July 2000.
2. Jabu Ngcobo, General Secretary, ITGLWF-African Regional Office, 4 July 2000.
3. Patrick Shabalala, Deputy General Secretary, Southern African Clothing and Textile
Workers’ Union (Sactwu), 4 July 2000.
4. Ebrahim Patel, member of Executive Board, COSATU; General Secretary, Southern
African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (Sactwu), 5 July 2000.
5. Alec Erwin, Minister of Trade and Industry, 5 July 2000.
6. Cunningham Ngcukana, General Secretary, and Mahlomola Skhosana, Deputy
General Secretary, NACTU, 6 July 2000.
1. Kjeld Aagaard Jakobsen, acting President, CUT, 10 July 2000.
2. Rafael Freire Neto, Secretary of International Relations, CUT, 10 July 2000.
3. Gusatavo Codas, advisor, CUT, 10 July 2000.
4. Maria Silvia de Castro, advisor, CUT, 10 July 2000.
5. Alcides G. R. Prates, Head of Section, Trade Policy, Foreign Ministry, 11 July 2000.
6. Alexandre de Freitas Barbosa, researcher, CUT, 12 July 2000.
7. Maria de Lourds dos Santos, General Secretary, CNTV (textile workers’ union),
CUT, 12 July 2000.
1. Barbara Shailor, International Secretary, AFL-CIO, 10 October 2000.
Ministerial Meeting Institution
gov’t minister gov’t minister gov’t minister States
Organ. Headquarters #2
ICFTU member ICFTU member ICFTU member National Unions
The ICFTU Strategy
#1: ICFTU, with some interaction with members, develops campaign goals and strategies, and then educates members.
#2: ICFTU members lobby governments.
#3: Government Ministers vote for core labor standards in the WTO; ICFTU continues pressure at Ministerial through lobbying
and protest activity.
#4: WTO forces member states to respect labor standards.
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