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A global workers network
tie is a global grassroots network of workers active in workplaces and communities.
It includes both union and non-union activists in the formal and informal sectors.
tie aims to encourage, organize, and facilitate international consciousness and cooperation among workers and their organizations in various parts of the World.
tie was founded in 1978 through the initiative of union activists from various countries. Today, tie includes activists in every continent and has active groups in Bangladesh, Brazil, Germany, Mexico, Senegal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey and the USA. From the beginning tie has supported workers initiatives that see them- selves as part of a broader movement for social change committed to fight for a life without exploitation and exclusion – a life grounded in the dignity of human beings and their freedom for self determination.
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    tie supports an international exchange of information and experiences among worker activists, women’s and human rights groups. tie takes into account that women form the majority of the global workforce. tie’s activities are geared to enable workers to engage in a process of self-organization, to develop their own strategies for better working and living conditions, and to facilitate solidarity locally and globally.
    We see solidarity and self-organization as important instruments for fighting back, we understand they also enable workers to experience the empower- ment of their own world in the here-and-now and thus the world we want to build. For us solidarity and self-organization mean mutual help between equal partners, brothers and sisters explicitly aiming to overcome existing divisions such as racism and sexism.
    tie is a politically independent organization that is rooted both in the global South and North. This enables us to build and mobilize ongoing links of common struggle between social movements in different countries. tie has a proven track record of facilitating both the exchange and implementation of fight-back strategies learned through international exchange projects and programs by movement activists.
    tie organizes local, regional, and international conferences, exchange visits, and education seminars on a regular basis in order to:
    • Help participants gain a deeper understanding of the process of globalization and the restructuring of work and production
    • Support an exchange of experiences on workers’ response towards these changes.
    Additionally, tie produces informational material, research, documentation, and other publications.
    tie actively supports and participates in building transnational networks among workers in specific sectors, and among workers employed by the same transnational corporations or their suppliers in different countries. For example, for over 25 years tie has facilitated international exchanges of information and experiences, and common training and education among workers of Daimler in order to:
    • Work out common union positions and strategies on issues such as new production methods (including work reorganization), health and safety, and racism and sexism
    • Enable concrete actions of international solidarity between workers
    • Organize common resistance to company strategies of whipsawing workers in different countries against each other

  • Neo-liberal policies, changes in mass production, globalization of work, as well as the variety of social, political, and economic mechanisms used to divide, exploit, and exclude workers demand continuous evaluation and development of strategies linking local, regional, and international unions, and workers in non-union facilities of the same sector. It is critical that workers, both em- ployed and unemployed, documented and non documented develop these strategies in the context of defending their own interests and responding more effectively to new challenges. For example, tie is facilitating an international health project VidaViva that joins workers in Brazil, Mexico, Mozambique, South Africa, and Europe to organize around health and enable workers to transform workplace conditions. tie VidaViva develops informational material, instruments of participative research, education and organizing programs, and supports national and international exchanges.


  • For workers worldwide "globalization" has meant not only decreased wages, deteriorating working and living conditions, but also a decrease in democratic rights. As the power of transnational corporations has increased, companies, especially in the global south, have regularly disregarded social, labor, or collective agreements and regulations. Furthermore, the risk of arrest, torture, and even death for union activists or organizers around the world has increased enormously in the last decades. tie supports both the building of democratic workers organizations that genuinely represent the interests of workers, as well as new forms of organizing. For example, in Sri Lanka tie together with other organizations has participated in the formation of the Free Trade Zones and General Services Employees Union, the first democratic and independent union for workers of the free trade zones of that country. In Bangladesh tie together with the National Garment Workers Federation supports the organizing of garment workers.


  • tie is firmly committed to dealing with issues of racism and sexism, and all other forms and mechanisms of exclusion – like the exclusion and oppression of ethnic minorities, workers at the margins and people on the basis of sexual orientation. A central component of any tie project is the fight for the develop- ment of women's leadership, for self-organization, and self-determination.


  • tie is comprised of active regional groups and projects. tie is open to all workers and activists who subscribe to tie’s programs and principles. Representatives of active regional groups and projects will meet every eighteen months at the tie global meeting. The tie global meeting will make decisions on programs, policy, and finances of tie, and select members to serve on the tie global coordinating team. The coordinating team will meet on an ongoing basis in order to support the tie global meeting and to ensure coherence of tie activities. The coordinating team will:

    • Implement programs agreed at the tie global meeting and communicate with regions and projects for ad-hoc decisions
    • Organize a constant debate and evaluation of all tie programs and projects
    • Strengthen cooperation between regional offices and projects
    • Organize regular reports on projects and activities
    • Ensure information is accessible to regional groups and projects
    • Visit regions for discussions on projects
    • Develop and coordinate a funding strategy
New ExChains project newsletter is out
The ExChains newsletter contains info about current struggles and campaigns of workers along the global supply chain in textile, garment, and retail.
Due to current events, the latest issue of the ExCHAINS newsletter is focused on the developments in Bangladesh's garment industry from spring to summer 2010.
Two main issues are:
  • Far from a living wage for garment workers: The recent rise in the minimum wage can only be an intermediate step
  • Garib & Garib fire caused 22 deaths and many injuries: Only union rights can help to combat life-threatening working conditions in the garment factories
Download as PDF  download newsletter (pdf)
more info on ExChains project
BASF workers network implements VidaViva in Brazil
The BASF union network in Brazil decided to implement the VidaViva health program in all of the BASF facilities in the country. BASF is the largest chemical producer in Brazil. The Network chose Mapping as the first tool of the VidaViva program to be implemented at the shop floor.

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