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72nd Annual Summer Conference, August 7–10, 2003

Unions and Integration Discussion Group

Summary by Simon Strelchick


  1. Canadian labour has become less nationalist and more internationalist, working with trade union movements in other countries to develop a shared vision of a different kind of global and North American economy.
  2. It is hard for unions to embrace a different vision of North America – more like the “labour friendly” European model – because the US labour movement is so weak, and the US is so politically dominant.
  3. Labour’s agenda for change includes a floor of labour rights in all trade deals, but the substantive content must also be changed so that developing countries can pursue their own agenda for sound and economic development.
  4. China’s accession to the WTO poses a major challenge to the global system if China does not embrace labour and democratic rights.