American Center for International Labor Solidarity

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Full name American Center for International Labor Solidarity
Native name Solidarity Center
Founded 1997
Head union Nancy Mills, Interim Executive Director
Affiliation AFL-CIO
Key people John J. Sweeney, Board of Trustees Chair
Office location 888 16th Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20006; global field offices
Country United States

The American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS), better known as the Solidarity Center, is a non-profit organization affiliated with the AFL-CIO labor federation that serves as a conduit for US foreign aid.

Its stated mission is to help build a global labor movement by strengthening the economic and political power of workers around the world through effective, independent, and democratic unions.


The AFL-CIO established ACILS in 1997. The Solidarity Center was created through the consolidation of four labor institutes: the American Institute for Free Labor Development, the Asian-American Free Labor Institute, the African-American Labor Center, and the Free Trade Union Institute. The pre-existing institutes were merged by John Sweeney when he was President of the AFL–CIO.

The AFL-CIO had worked internationally for many decades. With some funding from the OSS and CIA, it had worked to stop Communist movements in Western Europe after World War II.[1] In Guyana, labor unions and the CIA supported a general strike that stopped the People's Progressive Party (PPP) government from creating another PPP/state-controlled labor union.[2][3]


The Solidarity Center classifies its funding into the following program types:[4]

  • Worker & Human Rights
  • Organizing & Bargaining

The Solidarity Center assisted in Haiti's FTZ (Free Trade Zone). When textile manufacturer Grupo M, the Dominican Republic’s largest employer, applied to the International Finance Corporation (the World Bank’s private sector lending arm) for a $20 million loan to open a factory on the Haiti-Dominican border, the Solidarity Center, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and the Dominican Federation of Free Trade Zone Workers (FEDOTRAZONAS) worked together to condition the loan on respect for worker rights.

  • Global Economy
  • Gender & Equality
  • Safety & Health
  • Migration & Human Trafficking


Over 96% of its funding comes from the United States federal government, mostly through the National Endowment for Democracy.[original research?]

[5] The NED distributes grants to four institutes, two associated with economic interests and two with political interests. The Solidary Center is associated with labor and the Center for International Private Enterprise is associated with the Chamber of Commerce. There are two institutes associated with the major U.S. political parties, the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.[original research?][6][7] The open allocation of funding to these institutes has been intended to provide greater transparency to U.S. citizens, as appropriate for a democracy, than did the pre-1980s practice of providing covert funding through the CIA.[8]

The Solidarity Center receives funding from labor unions and solicits individual donations on its website.[9]

Field Offices[edit]

In addition to the international headquarters, the Solidarity Center maintains the following field offices:[10]


  1. ^ Lodge, George C. (1962). Spearheads of Democracy: Labor in the Developing Countries Harper & Row for the Council on Foreign Relations: New York. ASIN B0006AY0AU
  2. ^ Carew, Anthony (February 1998). "The American Labor Movement in Fizzland: The Free Trade Union Committee and the CIA - Central Intelligence Agency". Labor History. 
  3. ^ Waters, Robert (2005-03-15). "The World's Longest General Strike: The AFL-CIO, the CIA, and British Guiana". Diplomatic History. 
  4. ^ "Our Programs". ACILS. Archived from the original on 4 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  5. ^ "Solidarity Center 2009 Annual Report: Consolidated Statements of Activities, Years Ended December 31, 2008 and 2007". ACILS. 2009. Archived from the original on 4 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-20.  For 2008, the Solidarity Center received $28,475,408 in direct federal grants and $1,080,361 in federal matching funds out of a total income of $30,564,015. This makes 96.70% of all funding federal. For 2007, federal grants made up 96.60% of all funding based on the financial disclosures from page 31.
  6. ^ "NED How We Work: Applying a multisectoral approach". National Endowment for Democracy. Archived from the original on 12 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-20. 
  7. ^ Chossudovsky, Michel (2008-04-13). "China and America: The Tibet Human Rights PsyOp". Centre for Research on Globalization. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  8. ^ Weinstein, Allen (1991-09-22). "No Strings Attached? (Reprinted)". Washington Post. Retrieved 2010-02-20. 
  9. ^ "Contribute to the Solidarity Center Education Fund". ACILS. Archived from the original on 4 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-20. 
  10. ^ "Solidarity Center Offices". ACILS. Retrieved 2010-01-08. 

Further reading[edit]