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Free trade agreements, restructuring global production chains and the intensifying of neoliberal austerity policies globally have all contributed to heightened competition between workers internationally. In this context, the need to critically think about strategies to confront these processes and strengthen ties between workers internationally.

To this end, a group of trade union activists and labour academics have come together to organize a space to think through and evaluate strategies, debate challenges and organize proposals for how we strengthen labour internationalism in Canada Today.

“Confronting Global Capital: Strengthening Labour Internationalism and Transnationalism in Canada Today” will take place at McMaster University’s Continuing Education Centre in Hamilton, Ontario from October 12-14, 2017.

The conference aims to take stock of the state of labour internationalism in Canada today by bringing together trade unionists, as well as activists and academics involved in workers’ justice to evaluate past practices of Canadian labour internationalism and to debate and discuss strategies to strengthen this work. The conference programme includes consideration of how to mobilize increased participation by rank and file activists and how to develop deeper inter-union coordination on international solidarity. The conference will also tackle issues around transnational organizing, building international solidarity campaigns, fostering political connections and connecting internationalism with migrant workers struggles. Our goal will not only be to debate and analyze, but also to come up with a report from the conference that will include concrete proposals and ideas for advancing international labour solidarity in Canada today.

The organizing committee for the conference is made up of trade unionists (and worker-activists) and academics and most of our panels and workshops will include a mix of unionists, worker-activists, and academics. The conference is being supported by the Confédération des syndicat nationaux, UNIFOR, Public Service Alliance of Canada, United Steelworkers of America, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Centre for Social Justice, the Global Labour Research Centre, UBC Okanagan History and Sociology Department, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council, the School of Labour Studies at McMaster University, the Institute for Globalization and the Human Condition at McMaster University, the LIUNA Mancinelli Chair in Global Labour Issues at McMaster University, McMaster’s Faculty of Social Sciences and the Canadian Association for Work and Labour Studies.

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