Labor Leaders Worldwide Hail Egyptian Workers' Courage
Representatives from 17 countries around the world recorded video messages of solidarity with Egyptian union members and the Egyptian people before Hosni Mubarak stepped down.
Responding to walkouts on Wednesday by an estimated 20,000 Egyptian workers, trade union leaders from 17 countries, including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, recorded video messages of solidarity with Egyptian union members and the Egyptian people. The video lasts 16 minutes and 27 seconds and clearly was recorded before Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's dramatic departure from Cairo on Friday and the announcement he had stepped down from his office.
The video and a message from Trumka are posted at www.aflcio.org. The people speaking on it include Andrzej Adamczyk representing NSZZ Solidarnosc, the Polish trade union known as Solidarity in the West, which was founded in 1980 with similar demands for democratic reform. Solidarity's advocacy and electoral success began a movement in Soviet bloc countries that eventually brought about the end of the Soviet Union; Solidarnosc today is a union representing 722,000 workers. The AFL-CIO represents 12 million.
Leaders who offer support and encouragement in the video include Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC in England, Lee Cheuk Yan, general secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, who says he was in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989 when protesters confronted tanks. "This was the saddest time in my life, and I hope the same won't happen to Egypt," he says. Representatives of labor organizations in Sweden, Canada, South Africa, Senegal, Japan, Burma, Austria, Hong Kong, Belgium, Morocco, Palestine, Barbados, Fiji, and the Netherlands also speak in the video.