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Commentary :: Human Rights
BTL:Iraqi Unions Form New Labor Confederation
13 Apr 2009
BETWEEN THE LINES Syndicated Radio Newsmagazine
Iraqi Unions Form New Labor Confederation

Interview with Michael Zweig, professor of economics and director of the Center for Study of Working Class Life at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, conducted by Scott Harris

As President Barack Obama moves forward with his plan to withdraw many U.S. troops from Iraq, a spike in the number of bombings and assassinations has signaled a reversal of the dramatic decrease in violence seen in the country over recent months. Observers note signs of restiveness by former Sunni insurgents on the U.S. payroll, known as the "Sons of Iraq," many of whom have yet to receive jobs promised to them within the Iraqi military, police and government. On the sixth anniversary of the war in March, more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died, 4,200 U.S. service men and women have lost their lives and over $657 billion has been spent.

But in a sign of progress toward the development of institutions of civil society, Iraqi union activists held the nation's first International Labor Conference in mid-March, where three of the country' major labor organizations announced the formation of a new labor confederation. The two-day labor conference took place in the northern city of Erbil within the Kurdish region, where Iraq's Federation of Oil Unions, the Electricity Association and the General Federation of Workers Councils and Unions came together to create the new labor confederation.

Among the 200 delegates from Iraq and around the world attending the conference were six observers from America, representing the group U.S. Labor Against the War. Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with one of the delegates, Michael Zweig, professor of economics and director of the Center for the Study of Working Class Life at New York's Stony Brook University. Zweig discusses the goals of Iraq's new labor confederation and their relationship with U.S. unions.

For more information on the Iraqi labor conference visit the website

Related links:

* Center for the Study of Working Class Life's report, "Economic Stimulus and Economically Distressed Workers"



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"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
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