Solidarity Center

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Solidarity Center
Solidarity Center
Headquarters888 16th Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20006; global field offices
Key people
Shawna Bader-Blau, Executive Director
Elizabeth Shuler (AFL-CIO President), Board of Trustees Chair

The Solidarity Center is a non-profit organization aligned with the AFL–CIO labor federation. It is one of the core grantees of the National Endowment for Democracy.[1]

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 the Solidarity Center 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 Institute,[2] and the Free Trade Union Institute. The pre-existing institutes were merged by John Sweeney shortly after he became president of the AFL–CIO.

The AFL-CIO had worked internationally for many decades. With some funding from the Office of Strategic Services and the Central Intelligence Agency, it had worked to stop Communist movements in Western Europe after World War II.[3] With the 1997 launch of the Solidarity Center, those ties expanded.[4]

The Solidarity Center states that it works with unions, worker associations and community groups to provide a range of education, training, research, legal support and other resources to help build strong and effective trade unions and more just and equitable societies. It states that its programs—in more than 60 countries—focus on human and worker rights awareness, union skills, occupational safety and health, economic literacy, human trafficking, women's empowerment and bolstering workers in an increasingly informal economy. Solidarity Center states that its programs support and contribute to the global movement for labor rights.[5]


More than 96 percent of its funding comes from the United States federal government, mostly through U.S. Aid for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy.[6] The NED distributes grants to four institutes, two associated with economic interests and two with political interests. The Solidary Center is associated with labor.

The Solidarity Center receives funding from private foundations as well.[7]

Field offices[edit]

The Solidarity Center's main offices are in Washington, D.C. The organization has field offices in roughly 28 countries and programs in approximately 60 countries.[8]


  1. ^ "Frquently Asked Questions". National Endowment for Democracy. Retrieved 7 July 2018.
  2. ^ "African American Labor Center (AALC) and African History Center records, 1958-1984 | Archival Collections". Retrieved 2020-11-10.
  3. ^ Lodge, George C. (1962). Spearheads of Democracy: Labor in the Developing Countries Harper & Row for the Council on Foreign Relations: New York. ASIN B0006AY0AU
  4. ^ American Prospect, "The CIO without the CIA," December 19, 2001
  5. ^ Solidarity Center Who We Are
  6. ^ NED Resource Summary, U.S. State Department
  7. ^ 2014 Solidarity Center Annual Report
  8. ^ Solidarity Center, "Who We Are"

Further reading[edit]