American Institute for Free Labor Development

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Group.png American Institute for Free Labor Development  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Successor• American Center for International Labor Solidarity
• Solidarity Center
Founder• Irving Brown
• Jay Lovestone

The American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) was established in late 1961 by the US trade union AFL-CIO to "further free labor development" in the western hemisphere.

It received funding from the Central Intelligence Agency, mostly through USAID (United States Agency for International Development). In addition it was funded by some of the world's largest corporations. In the 1980s, it began receiving funds from the National Endowment for Democracy.

In 1997, AIFLD was merged with three similar organizations into the American Center for International Labor Solidarity.


A report by the US Court of Auditors explains it this way: "In May 1961, the AFL-CIO sought funding for the proposed institute from private foundations, business people and government agencies." George Meany, President and Authorized Officer of the AFL-CIO and President of the AIFLD, described it as support from the largest corporations in the USA: Rockefeller, ITT, Kennecott, Standard Oil, Shell Petroleum ... Anaconda, also Readers Digest ... even if some of these companies, to put it mildly, have no union relationship, they agree that it was in the interests of the US to support and invest in the development of "free" unions in Latin America.

J. Peter Grace, chairman of the board of directors of the AIFLD and also chairman of the board of directors of the chemical company WR Grace and Company, one of the 95 transnational corporations that sponsored the AIFLD, explains AIFLD calls for "cooperation between workers and management and an end to the class struggle" and "teaches how employees contribute to the profits of their company". Grace says the goal of the AIFLD is "to prevent communist infiltration, and where it exists ... to get rid of it."

Serafino Romualdi

Serafino Romualdi (1900–1967), who was head of AIFLD until September 1965, worked for the Office of Strategic Services since May 1944, where he worked on a study of the impact of US policies in Europe on the large European population in Latin America. He described his collaboration with Rómulo Betancourt as very politically fruitful.

William Doherty, Sr

William Doherty Sr. was Inter-American Representative of the Post, Telegraph and Telephone Workers International (PTTI). He became head of the AIFLD's social project, responsible for the day-to-day business of the AIFLD for the CIA.

==William Doherty, J William Doherty, Jr. was the managing director of AFL-CIO until 1995. In October 1995, John Sweeney replaced Lane Kirkland as director of AFL-CIO.