A delegation of leaders from a major US trade union federation arrived in
Shanghai on Friday at the invitation of the All-China Federation of Trade
The delegation from Change to Win, which represents more than 600 million
workers, will also visit Beijing and Kunming, capital of Southwest China's
Yunnan Province on an eight-day friendly visit.
The delegation will meet with workers in factories and other work sites to
learn about their conditions.
It will also meet academics, activists, and leaders from labor networks,
NGOs, large multinationals and government organizations.
A symposium to discuss collective negotiations organized by trade unions in
the two countries will be held during the delegation's visit to Beijing.
"We warmly welcome our American counterparts and will actively communicate
with them to find common ground," said Li Jingfang, an official with the
"The visit will improve and develop relationships between China and US trade
union organizations as well as the Sino-US relationship."
Li said it is the first time a US national trade union federation has visited
She said the two sides are expected to set up an exchange mechanism after the
Change to Win is one of two major national trade union organizations in the
US. The other, AFL-CIO had so far avoided contact with the federation, Li said.
Xu Zhenhuan, vice-chairman of the federation, will head a delegation to pay a
return visit to the US later in the year, she said.
James Hoffa, a delegate and Chair of the International Brotherhood of
Teamsters, said dialogue between China and US trade unions are of great
"You can never ignore a nation of 1.3 billion people," he said.
"We expect to have a frank interchange and talk with our Chinese counterparts
on issues such as how we can respectively improve the living standards of our
Hoffa said Change to Win unions share common employers with millions of
Chinese workers throughout the service, transportation and industrial sectors,
like the United Parcel Service Inc (UPS).
Change to Win, founded in July 2005, is made up of seven partner unions
separate from the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial
They are: International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Laborers' International
Union of North America, Service Employees International Union, UNITE HERE,
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, United Farm Workers of
America, and United Food and Commercial Workers International