Camera del Lavoro

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Logo of the Camere del Lavoro federated with the CGIL.

Camera del Lavoro were centers for Italian Syndicalist labor unions, modeled on the French Bourse du Travail, which flourished from 1895 to the rise of Fascism in the 1920s.

In its initial conception, Camere del Lavoro brought together all unions in a given locality, gave them a shared democratic political structure, and provided services to unions, workers, and communities. Most were initially funded by reformist, socialist and radical municipal councils.

Ideologically, many of the founders of Camere were syndicalists, anarchists, socialists, and those involved the cooperative movement. The first founders saw Camere as less a union hall, and more the seeds of a future horizontalist societal structure. But by the time of the First World War, unions were consolidating into politically divergent federations, and most Camere were wedded to one or another.

With the rise of the socialist (later communist) led Confederazione Generale del Lavoro, and the cross party union concentration following the Second World War, Camere del Lavoro became simply the headquarters of union locals.

There are several thousand operating today; one in most every Italian town. Most are tied to the Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro union, though most leftist labor groups maintain their own.


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