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This week, in Fortaleza, young activists from all over the Americas met in Fortaleza to strategize on new ways to organize workers. The event was part of the 5th UNI Americas Conference, which brought together some 600 union leaders from 24 countries and 124 organizations.

The meeting explored how organizing methods had changed throughout the pandemic and underlined the ways that trade unions can help in the struggle against inequality, poor working conditions and precarious work. Activists at the meeting emphasized the huge work trade unions are doing in the region to organize, mobilize and build worker power to fight anti-union messages and employers.

The difficult situation in Brazil of widespread attacks on worker rights, coupled with an extreme right-wing government and the Covid pandemic was presented by the representatives of Contraf-CUT, Edegar Faria, Karen Souza and the regional president of the Uni Americas Youth, Lucimara Malaquias.

“Before the pandemic, our relationship with workers was very close, with many visits, conversations and meetings. However, after the pandemic, with many workers working from home and we had to find new ways to reachthese workers. Today, we are trying to reach people in person and online, so that we can build a new type of trade unionism. Young people united will build new labour rights from now on,” explained Edegar Faria.

“This meeting gives us the unique opportunity to learn from each other and put successful practices into action. It’s a collective learning moment for all of us,” says Lucimara Malaquias.

“Our goal is to activate as many workers as possible, especially young, unionized workers. Without the buy in of young workers all over this region, we will not be able to transform the trade union movement and build the society we want to see,” concluded Marcio Monzane, Regional Secretary of UNI Americas.