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In 1972, he joined the Political Movement of Workers, a group of progressive left-wing Catholics, and was a candidate for the Movement in the general election of 1972, obtaining 117 votes. After the small movement disappeared, he dedicated himself to trade union activity.
From 1993 to 1998, he was regional secretary of the CISL in Lombardy. In 1999, he joined the union's national leadership, and was elected its secretary-general one year later. He resigned this post after the general elections of 2006.