CUT – Central Única dos Trabalhadores
Central Única dos Trabalhadores – CUT is a mass Brazilian national union organization, autonomous and democratic, with class character, whose commitment is to protect the historical and immediate interests of the working class.
Based on principles of equality and solidarity, its goals are to organize, represent and lead the struggle of workers from the city and countryside, public and private sectors, active and inactive, for better living and working conditions and for a fair and a democratic society.
Present in all economic sectors of the country, the CUT is the biggest national central in Brazil and in Latin America and the 5th largest in the world, with 3,299 affiliated entities, 7,116,278 associated workers and 21,092,160 workers in the base.
Since its founding 25 years ago, the CUT has played a crucial role in the economic, political and social changes in Brazil, Latin American and the world. The advances achieved in proposals for a Democratic System of Labor Relations and the election of a worker as President of the Republic in 2002, are strong examples of these changes and direct results of CUT’s actions in it’s tireless fight to guarantee and expand working class’ rights.
CUT Brazil - Central Única dos Trabalhadores - was founded on August 28th, 1983, in the city of São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo, during the 1st National Congress of the Working Class (CONCLAT). At that time, more than five thousand men and women, from all regions of the country, filled the hangar of the extinct film company Vera Cruz and created an important chapter in history.
Hard times - From 1964 to 1985 Brazil was under a military dictatorship, characterized by a lack of democracy, suppression of constitutional rights, political persecution, repression, censorship and torture. A broad process to restructure society began at the end of the seventies and continued in the mid-eighties. At the same time, the dictatorship weakened and the reorganization of many sectors of civil society allowed them to begin to express themselves publicly, initiating the process of redemocratization in the country.
The CUT appears
In this scene of deep political, economic and cultural changes, conducted mainly by social movements, the so-called "new unionism" appeared with the resumption of the mobilization process of the working class. These struggles, led by trade union leaders in opposition to the official corporate unionism, long time stagnant, resulted in the Central Única dos Trabalhadores, which is the result of decades of struggles of workers from the city and the countryside for the creation of an unique entity to represent them.
The birth of the CUT as a Brazilian trade union organisation is more than an instrument of struggle and real representation of the working class. It is also represents a challenge to give a permanent character to the presence of organized workers in national politics.
The CUT defends freedom of association and autonomy with the commitment and the understanding that workers have the right to decide freely on their forms of organization, membership and financial support, with complete independence of the State, governments, employers, political parties and groups, faiths and religious institutions and any organization of programmatic or institutional character.
For the Central, the struggles of the working class are sustained by the unity of the workers’ will and political conscience.
Strengthening democracy, development with income distribution and giving value to work are strategic points of the CUT. The fight for universal rights, historical flag, is reaffirmed daily by the active participation of the Central in the construction of public and affirmative policies in several sectors and segments of society, together with government and social movements, especially women, youth, people with physical disabilities, health, the elderly, the fight against racial discrimination, among others. Through its participation in councils, negotiation tables and public forums, the CUT has made important contributions in these areas.
In the field of international solidarity, CUT has been working on the development of joint strategies to confront neoliberal policies - privatization, concentration of capital and high profits - that injure national sovereignty and proliferate speculative practices, which result in the precarization of labour relations and conditions.
In the area of economic development, CUT’s actions aim to promote social inclusion, through new references for creating jobs and income, and alternatives of development. These processes are developed for education and training through the design of Integral Education and its emancipating role, a concept defended by the Central.
The CUT is organized in two levels:
1 - Horizontal Organization
Besides the national structure, CUT is organized in all 26 states and the Federal District: state CUTs.
2 - Vertical Organization
Union organizations at the base and union entities by economic activity sector: trade unions, federations and confederations.
Also part of the Central structure, are Committees on the Amazon, the Environment and Fight Against Racial Discrimination, in addition collectives on Health, People with Physical Disabilities, and Youth. The CUT also has agencies to develop specific policies and consultancies: Solidarity Development Agency (ADS), Social Observatory Institute (IOS), National Institute of Occupational Health (INST), besides seven Union Schools and one Tourism and Hospitality School.
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