Solidarity Center

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Group.png Solidarity Center   Sourcewatch WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Solidarity center logo.png
HeadquartersWashington DC, US
Membership• Harry G. Kamberis
• John J. Sweeney
• Richard L. Trumka

The Solidarity Center is an organization aligned with the AFL-CIO labor federation. It is one of the core grantees of the National Endowment for Democracy, a long-standing tool for regime changes.


With funding (denied at the time) from the Office of Strategic Services and the Central Intelligence Agency, it worked to subvert and counter Communist and independent trade unions in Western Europe from 1945, soon expanded to the rest of the world. With the 1997 launch of the Solidarity Center, those ties supposedly ended.

The AFL-CIO established the Solidarity Center in 1997. The Solidarity Center was created through the consolidation of four labor institutes: the American Institute for Free Labor Development, the Asian-American Free Labor Institute, the African-American Labor Institute, and the Free Trade Union Institute. The pre-existing institutes were merged by John Sweeney shortly after he became president of the AFL–CIO.[1]

The AFL-CIO has worked internationally since World War 2. The Solidarity Center's in-country staffers, with their backgrounds in union organizing, act as conduits between American unions and their foreign counterparts while serving as the AFL-CIO's eyes and ears on the ground in other nations.

There is an obvious incongruity between the Solidarity Center's claim of furthering an international workers' agenda, and the corporate controlled U.S. government funding three-quarters of its budget. This can be explained by that the US government being aware of the potential power of trade unions, wishing to have control over what it can't fully suppress. In addition, unions can be useful tools in toppling unwanted governments.

While ferocious in McCarthyist power politics during the Cold War, the Solidarity Center's predecessors were better known throughout much of the third world for undermining active unionism than for supporting it.

El Salvador

The labor federation's Latin American arm, the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD), was especially notorious for its CIA connections and for siding with repressive governments, often against progressive unions.

In the 1980s, during the reign of the death squads in El Salvador, "AIFLD threw money at the most conservative and most pro-government union factions," says the Reverend David Dyson, a longtime union activist. When the Reagan administration was supporting terror throughout Latin America, Dyson says, "we'd find AIFLD people sitting around the embassy drinking coffee like they were part of the team." [2]


Known member

1 of the 3 of the members already have pages here:

Richard TrumkaUS union leader who died a week after supporting mandatory vaccination as president of the AFL-CIO.
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