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Challenging The AFL-CIO’s Labor Imperialism

A little known fact, even to those who work there, is that the AFL-CIO organizes in support of US imperialist policies that drive a global race to the bottom in wages and working conditions, negatively impacting US workers too. The AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center is one of the four core components of the National Endowment for Democracy. Clearing the FOG speaks with Kim Scipes, a co-founder of the new Labor Education Project on the AFL-CIO’s International Operations (LEPAIO). Scipes describes the long history of labor imperialism and how unions are challenging it. Adrienne Pine provides a brief report on workers protesting the brutal labor practices of the State Department’s main contractor, BL Harbert, building the US Embassy in Honduras.

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Kim Scipes, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Purdue University Northwest in Westville, Indiana. He is the author of the 2010 book, AFL-CIO’s Secret War against Developing Country Workers:  Solidarity or Sabotage?, and of the 2020 article, “The AFL-CIO’s Foreign Policy Program:  Where Historians Now Stand,” available on-line for free from the peer-reviewed journal Class, Race and Corporate Power (Political Science Department of Florida International University in Miami): He is also a member of the National Writers’ Union, AFL-CIO.  Details on McKenzie’s book:  London:  Pluto Press, 2022.  ISBN:  978 0 7453 4562 8 (paper). Kim can be reached at

Adrienne Pine is a critical medical anthropologist whose work has explored the embodiment of structural violence and imperialism in Honduras, cross-cultural approaches to revolutionary nursing, and neoliberal fascism. She has served as an expert country conditions witness in around 100 asylum cases over the past fifteen years. Adrienne was an assistant professor at the American University and is author of Working Hard, Drinking Hard: On Violence and Survival in Honduras

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