Global Union Organisations, 1889–2019: The Weight of History and the Challenges of the Present

  • Dimitris StevisEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Social Movements book series (PSHSM)


What has kept global union organisations—some of the largest and oldest societal organisations—from spearheading an effective transnational union strategy against capitalism and, before that, other forces that divided unions? Is there any evidence that they are currently overcoming historical obstacles as they confront global neoliberalism? The historical record demonstrates that the weaknesses of global union organisations are due to both external factors as well as factors internal to the world of unions. Their contemporary record indicates that global union organisations have undertaken a number of important initiatives, such as Global Framework Agreements (GFAs) with multinational companies and a Just Transition focus in global climate negotiations. However, their effectiveness remains limited because, for enduring political reasons, they are still confederal, rather than federal, societal organisations.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Colorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

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