Global Labor Unions and Federations

International Trade Union Confederation

The AFL-CIO is an affiliate of the International Trade Union Confederation, a worldwide union network that represents 207 million workers in 163 countries and territories. ITUC’s primary mission is to promote and defend workers’ rights through international cooperation between trade unions, global campaigning and advocacy within major global institutions. AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler serves on the ITUC General Council and Executive Bureau.

Global Union Federations

Global Union Federations are the international representatives of unions organizing in specific industry sectors or occupational groups. Most AFL-CIO unions belong to the union federation for their sector.

Building and Wood Workers International represents 326 free and democratic unions in the building, building materials, wood, forestry and allied sectors, representing about 12 million members in 130 countries. Its mission is to promote trade unions around the world, and to promote and enforce workers’ rights in the context of sustainable development.

Education International is the voice of teachers and other education employees around the globe. A federation of 401 associations and unions in 171 countries and territories, it represents 30 million educators and support professionals in educational institutions from early childhood centers to universities.

IndustriALL Global Union represents 50 million workers in 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors. It is a force in solidarity fighting for better working conditions and trade union rights around the world.

International Arts and Entertainment Alliance (IAEA) The alliance has three sections: the International Federation of Actors (FIA), the International Federation of Musicians (FIM), and the Media, Entertainment and Arts section of the UNI Global Union (UNI-MEI).

International Domestic Workers Federation is a membership-based global organization of domestic and household workers that is made up of both unions and associations.  

The International Federation of Journalists is the world’s largest organization of journalists. First established in 1926, the federation represents about 600,000 members in 134 countries. It promotes international action to defend press freedom and social justice.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation consists of about 700 unions representing more than 4.5 million transport workers from some 150 countries. Its mission is to promote respect for trade union and human rights worldwide, to work for peace based on social justice and economic progress, to help its affiliated unions defend member interests, and to provide research and information services to its affiliates.

The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations represents workers employed in agriculture and plantations, the preparation and manufacture of food and beverages, hotels, restaurants and catering services, and all stages of tobacco processing. It is currently composed of 388 trade unions in 125 countries representing more than 12 million workers. Founded in 1920, it strives to build solidarity at every stage of the food chain, organize within transnational companies, and lead global action to defend human, democratic and trade union rights.

Public Services International brings together more than 20 million workers represented by 669 unions in 154 countries and territories. Dedicated to promoting quality public services in every part of the world, its members—two-thirds of whom are women—work in social services, health care, municipal and community services, central government, and public utilities such as water and electricity.

UNI Global Union represents more than 20 million workers from more than 900 trade unions in the fastest-growing sectors in the world—skills and services. Its charge is to ensure these jobs are decent and workers’ rights are protected, including the right to join a union and engage in collective bargaining.

Trade Union Advisory Committee

The Trade Union Advisory Committee is an international trade union organization that has consultative status with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and its various committees. TUAC affiliates consist of more than 58 national trade union centers from the 30 OECD member countries, which together represent 66 million workers. TUAC’s role is to represent organized labor’s views within the new organization and to help ensure that global markets are balanced by an effective social dimension. AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler serves as its president.

International Labour Organization: The only tripartite United Nations agency, since 1919 the ILO brings together governments, employers and workers representatives of 187 member states, to set labor standards, develop policies and devise programs promoting decent work for all women and men.