IBM Workers to Organize Global Union

According to the Alliance@IBM, a network of IBM unions around the world plans to meet in May to form a Global IBM Union.

The Alliance@IBM has announced that an IBM super-union is in the early stages of being formed, to be known as the IBM Global Union Alliance.

In a statement, the Alliance@IBM said a network of IBM unions worldwide, including the Alliance@IBM CWA Local 1701, will meet in Switzerland in May to form the IBM Global Union Alliance.

The statement released by Lee Conrad, national coordinator of the Alliance@IBM, said: "For many years IBM unions, including the Alliance, have worked together as a network of information and cooperation. The new Global Union Alliance, under the umbrella of the International Metalworkers Federation (IMF) and Union Network International (UNI) takes that network to another level and will include many more IBM unions. This past year new IBM unions have formed in Bulgaria, Chile and Argentina.

Conrad said the meeting of the various unions will take place in Nyon, Switzerland, on May 5-6. Presumably, a global IBM union would be able to exert significant leverage over IBM to the benefit of its employees throughout the world. IBM has more than 400,000 employees worldwide.

In a joint statement, the IMF and UNI said of the new Global Union:

"As IBM has set itself up as a truly global company, trade unions also need to set up a truly global alliance cooperating to the maximum extent for the benefit of their members and IBM employees. This meeting creates an IMF/UNI Global Union Alliance at IBM of trade unions with members working for companies owned by IBM or companies in which IBM has a significant interest."

According to the Alliance, the purpose is to express the determination/commitment of trade unions at IBM to work together at the global level based on shared values and objectives to strengthen communication and cooperation and to implement action coordinated by the IMF/UNI global union.

Moreover, the union's objectives are:

  • To engage IBM in dialog at global level.

  • To pursue agreements with IBM at global level to improve working conditions of IBM employees worldwide.

  • To raise levels of trade union membership at IBM.

Further the Alliance's statement said: "The partners of the Alliance will work together with the aim of protecting and furthering the interests of IBM employees throughout the world. The partners will take concrete action to enlarge the network by improving contacts with unions in countries where employees are unionized and make every effort to organize unorganized plants/locations. The Alliance@IBM/CWA Local 1701 looks forward to the forming of this new organization for IBM employees and their unions."

Alliance@IBM/CWA Local 1701 is an IBM employee organization that is dedicated to preserving and improving workers' rights and benefits at IBM.

"We also strive towards restoring management's respect for the individual and the value we bring to the company as employees," the union's mission statement said. "Our mission is to make our voice heard with IBM management, shareholders, government and the media. While our ultimate goal is collective bargaining rights with IBM, we will build our union now and challenge IBM on the many issues facing employees from off-shoring and job security to working conditions and company policy."