Under the Covers With the CIA

The following important report was published in San Jose, California, by Fred Hirsch on January 25, 1974. The title of the following 46-page report was “An Analysis of our AFL-CIO role in Latin America; or, Under the covers with the CIA.”

On December 1, 1973, the Emergency Committee to Defend Democracy in Chile held a conference on Chile/Latin America/U.S. Foreign Policy. Out of that conference of 300 diverse people came a continuing workshop on U.S. labor’s role in Latin America.

This paper was developed out of the discussions of trade unionists. In our attempt to penetrate the role of the AFL-CIO’s American Institute for Free Labor Development in Chile, we found the facts so startling as to be unbelievable. To put the AIFLD in perspective we found it necessary to trace its development through an all-but-hidden history of government-labor-CIA and corporate involvement.

This paper is intended as background for the resolutions to be found in the back of this analysis.

All funds raised through sales of this publication are delivered to the movement of the people of Chile to free political prisoners, restore full human rights and put an end to the military dictatorship.


This article originally appeared at:

An Analysis of Our AFL-CIO Role in Latin America; or, Under the Covers With the CIA

An Analysis of Our AFL-CIO Role in Latin America; or, Under the Covers With the CIA

An Analysis of Our AFL-CIO Role in Latin America; or, Under the Covers With the CIA

Posted on April 25, 2017 by mbarker2012

The following important report was published in San Jose, California, by Fred Hirsch on January 25, 1974. The title of the following 46-page report was “An Analysis of our AFL-CIO role in Latin America; or, Under the covers with the CIA.”

On December 1, 1973, the Emergency Committee to Defend Democracy in Chile held a conference on Chile/Latin America/U.S. Foreign Policy. Out of that conference of 300 diverse people came a continuing workshop on U.S. labor’s role in Latin America.

This paper was developed out of the discussions of trade unionists. In our attempt to penetrate the role of the AFL-CIO’s American Institute for Free Labor Development in Chile, we found the facts so startling as to be unbelievable. To put the AIFLD in perspective we found it necessary to trace its development through an all-but-hidden history of government-labor-CIA and corporate involvement.

This paper is intended as background for the resolutions to be found in the back of this analysis.

All funds raised through sales of this publication are delivered to the movement of the people of Chile to free political prisoners, restore full human rights and put an end to the military dictatorship.

Copyright, F. Hirsch, San Jose, CA. 1974 Second printing, April, 1974.

Fred Hirsch CIA cover


The tragic and dramatic overthrow of the Popular Unity Government in Chile opens many questions in the labor movement which remain unanswered. These questions will remain unanswered unless there is a deliberate pursuit of answers on the part of active and determined trade unionists. Questions surrounding the nature of the involvement of officials of the AFL-CIO in Latin America and Chile are of such a profound nature that they challenge the underlying principles of trade unionism.

We take pride in the protests voiced by some local unions and by a number of Central Labor Councils. The denunciations of the Chilean junta and its fascist-like methods on the part of such major names in labor as Pat Gorman, Ralph Helstein, Leonard Woodcock, Floyd Smith and Harry Bridges are a clarion of conscience.

But the blame for events in Chile and in other Latin American and Caribbean nations cannot simply be placed on the military dictators who kill the people in the name of “fatherland and liberty.” The blame must also be placed on the multinational corporations which reach out from North American soil to multiply their wealth on the labor and resources of such places as Chile. The blame must fall on those in government who guarantee the profits of the multinationals – not just with risk-free insurance and credit and loan manipulations – but with arms, troops when they deem necessary, and with the ever threatening presence of the CIA. More important for us in the labor movement, we must discover as exactly, as possible just what the role of U.S. labor has been in clearing the brush for the advancing corporations, the State Department and the CIA. That we have played such a role is a fact; only the extent of that role is in question.

Has the U.S. labor movement allowed itself to be shanghaied into service as aide to the junta executioners of Latin America? Has such a thing happened through the democratic processes we boast, or has our power and representation been hijacked by the CIA for use against our brothers and sisters abroad?

There is enormous evidence to show AFL-CIO complicity in the overthrow of democratic governments elected fairly by the people of Latin America and the Caribbean. Well-documented facts’ suggest that we of the AFL-CIO allowed our powder to be used to bring about the murderous coup in Chile which outlawed the Chilean labor movement killed tens of thousands and abolished the civilian and human rights of the people. If such is allowed it sorely diminishes our stature as trade unionists. If such decisions were made behind closed doors in our Washington offices, they must be brought out and questioned, reviewed and altered to the satisfaction of the rank-and-file of our organizations. If that cannot be done, it is time to drop the words “democratic” and “free” from our statements of principle. Anything less is hypocrisy.

Shortly after the September 11, 1973 coup in Chile, Dr. Ernesto Galarza, a well-known author, former labor chief of the Pan American Union, who for ten years was the organizer for the National Agricultural Workers Union (predecessor of AWOC, and now UFWU), attempted to open a dialog with AFL-CIO Legislative Director Andrew Biemiller. Biemiller had testified against a trade bill designed to open commerce with the eastern countries. He objected to dealing with “countries which repress their population, thwart formation of free trade unions, and stifle political dissent.” Galarza asked why the AFL-CIO leveled its attack only on the eastern countries when “the military assassinations that the Chilean junta has been carrying out systematically” fit the description so closely. Yet the Chilean situation was never cited by the AFL-CIO. Dr. Galarza charged that Biemiller’s statement kills “a myth to which the AFL-CIO has been paying homage for decades, namely, that there is a Dear Sir and Brotherhood among all workers of the Americas.” Biemiller failed to so much as send brother Galarza a reply. The same letter was sent to Andrew McLellan, AFL-CIO Inter-American representative; again no reply. There is only one reason why these AFL-CIO officials would not respond to a man of Dr. Galarza’s stature: their reply could never stand the scrutiny of honest trade unionists.


The mechanism of the AFL-CIO in Latin America is the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD). This organization was formed as a non-profit corporation in 1962. Its president is none other than George Meany. Chairman of the Board of Trustees is J. Peter Grace, chief executive of W. R. Grace & Company, a multinational corporation with extensive interests in Latin America. The AIFLD Board of Trustees is made up largely of leading labor officials and corporate executives with enormous holdings in Latin America and the Caribbean countries.

AIFLD was set up as the latest step in the program of AFL (now AFL-CIO) to split the leftist labor unions in Latin America and increase U.S. influence. Its stated goal is “the development of the democratic trade union movement in Latin America and the Caribbean.” Whether or not the stated goal conforms to the reality of its practice is a crucial question.

Originally an educational project, AIFLD now operates in several other fields – social projects, credit facilities, social action and “community development.” The educational phase of the operation is massive. In Colombia and Peru it has trained as much as 5% of the union membership – far exceeding any AFL-CIO training programs offered to unionists in the U.S. In local seminars, people are chosen to participate in area-wide or nationwide seminars; from these are selected the most likely people (often they are not even unionists) who are offered a three-month course in AIFLD’s training center at Front Royal, Virginia. During this time the trainee’s, family receives a stipend and the trainee gets a per diem payment in excess of what he or she would earn on the job. When the Front Royal course is completed, trainees are returned home where they continue on the AIFLD payroll for at least an additional nine months. Subjects covered at Front Royal include:

  • The InterAmerican and International Labor Movement
  • Adult Education
  • Instruction in Cooperatives
  • Time and Motion Study
  • Credit Unions
  • The Cooperative Movement; Techniques and Problems
  • The AIFLD – Department of Social Projects
  • History and Structure of the North American Labor
  • Movement Political Systems: Democracy and Totalitarianism

The courses are heavily larded with material similar to that dispensed in the Sixties by the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade. (In fact, one of the first Directors of AIFLD was listed as a speaker for that group.) They do not deal with problems created by multinational corporations, American or European neo-imperialism, oligarchic national control, land redistribution or the fascist patterns of military governments. They mention no courses relating to strike strategy. The basic premise of the educational program is that all solutions will come to working people through collective bargaining and opposing communism in collaboration with management and government. In addition to the above mentioned courses, AIFLD has added one and two year courses in labor economics.

The social programs of AIFLD are generally brought into play to fill some of the needs of members in unions which are engaged in direct conflict with leftist unions. These programs are used to “showcase” the benefits of AFL-CIO style unions. Housing development is the program given the most publicity in AIFLD reports. Unfortunately the thousands of housing units they construct in Latin America are priced beyond the means of average workers and the overwhelming numbers of poor people. This housing is more suited to the income of high wage earners and professionals.

In addition to limiting costs, AIFLD housing is tied with strings in such a manner that, from time to time, it has been rejected even by anti-communist unions which seek to maintain their autonomy. According to a U.S. Senate study, “AIFLD apparently demands that, in all questions relating to a given housing project, it be allowed to act with complete authority on behalf of the Latin American union involved. Many unions feel this is too high a price to pay. [Survey of the Alliance for Progress, Labor Policies and Programs, by the staff of the Committee on Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, 7/15/68.]

The other social projects are carried out under the guidance of AIFLD advisers and are paid for through US AID (Alliance for Progress) funds. In Chile the funds were loosely accounted for; the Senate study charged that billings were “prepared on the basis of unsupported estimates” which “demonstrate serious financial management weakness in the AID-AIFLD contract relationship.” [Ibid. p.48] According to David Bell, former director of USAID:

American labor people work continuously in Latin America as advisers to labor leaders who are trained as sources of Ideas and stimulation for our type of labor union… It is intended to work directly with the leadership of the Latin American trade unions and educate them and persuade them of the direction to follow that we think and our American labor leaders think is sensible and so on.

If Bell’s statement seems to bind American labor leaders in AIFLD too tightly under State Department AID direction, it is no coincidence. William C. Doherty, Jr., Executive Director of AIFLD, claims that 92% of his budget comes out of government funds; the rest is out of the AFL-CIO and “some 95 business establishments with interests in Latin America.” [AIFLD Booklet, l962-72, p.17]

The general approach of AIFLD is laid out for us by Doherty in a 5/6/69 report to the Senate Committee:

After the AFL-CIO had decided to set up the organization, conversations ensued between our labor leaders and leaders in the United States and we found there was common ground. People like David Rockefeller and Peter Grace — and I don’t want to mention all their names because I’m sure to leave some out — decided that we had a lot to gain from cooperating Latin America, and that we would try to throw away some of the classic concepts of how labor view management, and how management views labor, and to see if we could not do some co-operating, What we did was set up the AIFLD in cooperation with management.

This approach is given further depth by J. Peter Grace:

We need to understand that today the choice in Latin America is between democracy and communism. We must bear in mind that we cannot allow communist propaganda to divide us as between liberals and conservatives, or between business and labor, or between the American people and their government… In this organization we have a joint venture that the communists cannot hope to match – one of free men from all walks of life working together in consensus for a common goal without selfish purpose. [AIFLD Pamphlet, “A Decade of worker to Worker Cooperation.”]

Grace’s holdings extend to Chile, where the Grace Company has made unprecedented profits (“without selfish purpose”) for more than a hundred years.

The U.S. government expectations of AIFLD are best expressed in the 1966 State Department contract which handed over $645,000 to Doherty’s apparatus for use in Chile [AID-LA #259, Chile]:

… The target of this activity is to strengthen and develop a trade union leadership that is capable of organizing a democratic labor movement in Chile which can participate and contribute to national development…

and to develop and implement

…small impact projects intended to meet the needs of workers’ groups and develop a friendly attitude to the United States.

It takes more than a fair share of arrogance to assume that Chileans have not or cannot organize their own democratic labor movement. The labor movement in Chile began as early as our own with effective general strikes as far back as 1890, and Chileans have organized a higher percentage of the working class than the AFL-CIO here at home. At the time of the coup there were two million Chileans in unions out of a population of ten million. The U.S. has some 20 million organized workers in a population of 210 million. U.S. unions have 25% of the work force organized; in Chile it was 90%. The difference is that the democratically elected leaders of the majority of Chilean workers are oriented toward socialism and against collaboration with the corporations which exploit their labor, many of which are to be found in the membership and directorate of AIFLD.

Note also that the $645,600 in the AIFLD Chile budget for 1966 was an expenditure of U.S. workers’ dues money and taxes – more than three times greater than the budget of the entire Chilean labor movement. Fortunately or not for AIFLD, the organization of working people is not always a commodity to be bought and sold. The Chilean unions consolidated their power to the point where they were able to elect the Allende government and take control of their country’s major corporations. Those corporations, to the discredit of unionists in the U.S., were represented best by AIFLD.


By 1967 the AIFLD budget was well over 96 million, a figure three times the annual AFL-CIO budget. Though we still have more than 60 million workers in this country who are unorganised, the AFL-CIO has never asked for government funds to use here in the U.S. for organizing a “democratic labor movement.” In fact, AFL-CIO’s Department of Organizing has, in just a few years, dwindled from a staff of 600 to an extremely cautious staff of about 300, and those remaining are fearful that the entire Organising Department soon will be dismantled.

On the other hand, the government is not only disinterested in offering money for trade union organization, but such expenditure would be illegal in 1966 a small group of organizers who had been close to the farmworkers latched onto some Office of Economic Opportunity funds. Its purpose was to establish a training center for “rural organizers” and it was called California Center for Community Development (CCCD). After much hassle t the funding came through under the protective wing of a few Democratic politicians. The CCCD program was similar to AIFLD in structure, but not in outlook. The organizer-trainees spent three weeks at the Center and then stayed on a payroll for six months in the field. The very first time a “trainee” was found organizing a farmworker picketline without covering his tracks, the Feds moved in and the program was shut down. It was clearly evident that the U.S. government was not going to allow any trade union organizing to be funded through the taxes paid by working people and it had the law to back it up.


As for the corporations’ interest in “organizing a democratic labor movement” in Latin America, that is patently ridiculous. The whole history of the union movement in this country flies in the face of such an idea* Even an uneducated examination of a partial list of corporate supporters of AIFLD reveals companies which have fought unionization at an immense cost in the lives of working people. There are the mining companies – Kennecott, Anaconda and American Smelting and Refining, which fought bloody battles with the Western Federation of Miners, Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers and, to this day, the United Steel Workers.

There is Readers Digest, which has put out material supporting the anti-union “right to work” drives and whose most published contributor, incidentally, is Richard Nixon.

There is IBM, which has successfully done everything in its power to keep out unions.

There are the Rockefeller corporations, the major oil companies and the great banking giants which have denied workers the right to organize by scheming brute force and racism; some of these succumbed only when the workers became so powerful that continued company resistance was uneconomical.

Among the companies affiliated with AIFLD are a slew which have been nailed in the courts and in the Watergate hearings for oversized and illegal contributions to Nixon’s campaigns and who benefit far beyond their donations in inflated superprofits taken from the pockets of unionists and unorganized workers across the United States.

The entire history of trade unionism shows that the only time a company is interested in trade union representation for its workers is when it adds up to increased profits. Corporations have always tried to put together company unions or their equivalent when there was a danger of organization by a bona fide labor organization. The same California growers who supported the so-called “right to work” law today promote the Teamsters to represent farmworkers. They don’t do that because they want a union; they do it because they want some organization – any organisation – to help them avoid dealing with a true and militant representative of the men and women who work in the fields. It is precisely the same with the 95 corporations in AIFLD’s fold. They are interested in a stable labor situation through which they can continue their outrageous rates of profit. They need the same status quo which has institutionalized massive and gross poverty in Latin America, They view cooperation with the program of AIFLD as the most economic means of fulfilling their manifest destiny as super profiteers. The AIFLD corporations are run by hardheaded businessmen; their collaboration with the AFL-CIO in Latin America is not based on softheadedness. It is simply the best available method for them to maintain corporate control over the lives and productive power of the working people in the various countries.


There are certain and clear contradictions among the AFL-CIO, the U.S. government and the multinational corporations. Their unity in AIFLD seemingly violates the contradictions. Conflict of interest ought to characterize the relationship between the members of the tri -partite alliance; yet the conflict fails to divide these partners. In order to understand this, we must look briefly at the role of U.S. labor in foreign policy before the emergence of AIFLD, for the historic roots of the present corporation/government/labor cooperation go back more than a half century.

The AFL policy, which developed during World War I, was first of all against American Socialists who opposed the war and in support of the war policies of the Woodrow Wilson administration. Samuel Gompers’ policy of “bread-and-butter” craft unionism was under sharp attack by the Socialists in the labor movement. Their militancy, industrial union policies and political action were not only an embarrassment to the Gompers forces, but challenged their conservative leadership. The conflict drove Gompers into anti -Socialist cooperation with “labor’s friends.” One of the prime examples of “labor’s friends” was Woodrow Wilson. A personal friendship flowered between Gompers and the President, It was only a short step to collaborating with the friends of “labor’s friends”- labor’s enemies – who sat on the other side of the bargaining table. The collaboration became so cozy that the first labor delegations sent to confer with European unions had to pass muster with the National Civic Federation, an organization of leading businessmen and top labor leaders founded by Mark Hanna and financed by the Morgan interests. The interplay of these relationships brought about many bitter situations in which craft unions were used to break strikes in the mass production industries. Cozy collaboration principles left the unions defenseless by the Twenties, when the rank-and-file was subjected to speed-up, mechanization, yellow-dog contracts and the right- to-work scheme of the “American Plan,” Gompers’ willingness to support Wilson’s war aims paid off in some respects. It gave the labor officials new prestige, hobnobbing with high leadership in industry, and it made the AFL a junior partner in some government planning related to the war effort. It also put Gompers in the position of enlisting the aid of a group of pro-war Socialists who had splintered from the main group of their party. It became necessary for Gompers and Wilson to use the Socialist reputations of such men in order to strengthen the resolve of Socialist labor leaders in Europe to continue the war.

In this period, Sam Gompers – having become a “labor statesman” – leaned heavily on the pro-war ex-Socialists who formed the Social Democratic League. In their European tours (trying to convince the Socialist-oriented unions to stick behind the war effort} they began to use the words “free” and “democratic” to characterize those unions which were not led by Socialists and, later, by “bolsheviks” and “communists.”

Algernon Simons, a leader of the Social Democratic League, was in Italy when Gompers toured for the Wilson war effort. There Gompers earned the scorn of the largely socialist labor movement, with one notable exception: he received warm praise from a pro-war Italian “patriot” who had broken with the Socialist Party and founded his own newspaper – that was Benito Mussolini. [North Winship, “Gompers Visit to Milan, Oct. 17, 1918.] The term “democratic” was already thoroughly perverted in the jargon of the AFL when, in a note to Gompers, Simons characterised Mussolini’s publication as a “democratic, pro-war paper.” [Memo of Algie M. Simons, Gompers’ Manuscripts, Sept, 12, 1918.]

From that period on, the AFL was involved in the sphere of foreign policy/ acting for succeeding administrations and working in conjunction with the Social Democratic League and its inheritors og Jay Loves tone (chairman of the AFL-CIO International Affairs Department) and his sidekick, Irving Brown. Both are listed as operatives for the Central intelligence Agency. [Julius Mader, “Who’s Who in the CIA”, p.75, 318.] With the advent of the Russian Revolution at the end of World War I, the world labor movement underwent sharp polarization. Labor in Europe and Latin America gained widely in strength and moved to the left, while the AFL did its best to continue backing Wilsonian policy. There were sharp differences among leftist labor leaders – they divided into various groupings; moderate socialists, anarchists, anarcho-sindicalists, Trotskyists and Leninists – but the AFL stood fast against any group which did not pay total allegiance to the capitalist economic system.

The various socialist unions held international meetings and formed labor alliances which struck fear of revolution into government circles. To combat this, Gompers participated in the formation of the International Labor Organization (ILO) under the auspices of the League of Nations. Though ILO was ineffective, it brought the previously covert partnership of labor, government and business into the open. Each national delegation was to be composed of representatives of the three sectors, setting the precedent for a policy of collaboration between labor leaders and industrialists, which today shows up in AIFLD.


The period between the wars saw a large growth in U.S. corporate investment in Latin America, basically in agriculture and production of raw materials for industry. The Latin American workers’ organizations generally did not follow the “bread-and-butter” unionism of the AFL. Such a policy would have been impossible under landowner oligarchic governments which dealt with strikes at gunpoint and thought little of bringing “order” into labor relations by massacring workers, Latin Americans had the severest extremes of great individual wealth and mass poverty and starvation. The common view in South and Central America was that their misery was protected and perpetuated through economic control by U.S. business, backed by our government and the Monroe Doctrine. For that reason, Latin American unions geared themselves toward political and revolutionary solutions; they felt a need to wrest control from the foreign corporations and those hand-picked to serve them, Gompers moved into the Latin American scene with the Pan American Federation of Labor (PAFL) which he personally initiated. At the opening convention in Laredo in November, 1918, Gompers was accompanied by the U.S. Secretary of Labor. [Sinclair Snow, “Samuel Gompers and the Pan American Federation of Labor,” Doctoral Dissertation, Unv. of Virginia, 1960, pp.68-71.] It was significant that PAFL was financed directly by the U.S. government, its newspaper given a free mailing permit and published in Washington. This relationship carries over to AIPLD today. Gompers explained it: “The fundamental policy I have pursued in organising the Pan American Federation of Labor is based upon the spirit of the Monroe Doctrine, to establish and maintain the most friendly relations between the governments of the United States and the Pan American countries.” [Samuel Gompers, “Seventy Years of Life and Labor,” pp.321-412]

The PAFL lasted slightly more than ten years it failed to reflect and represent the interests and needs of working people. When it faded in the depression of the 30s, PAFL was replaced by the Latin American Confederation of Workers (CTAL), an anti-imperialist confederation which succeeded in organising millions of workers of all political shades in Latin America. CTAL was free from Worth American domination though it included Marxists in leadership, it enjoyed the support of the newly- formed CIO.


During World War II, there was a relaxation of tensions between the right and the left, nationally and internationally. Most union organizations held the defeat of the Axis the uppermost consideration. It was not until after the war – when communist- led unions and socialist nations were in ascendancy internationally – that the old battle stations were resumed. The United States emerged from the war stronger than it had entered it, and the economies of Europe were devastated. The Marshall Plan to rebuild Western European economies under until financial and military leadership began, and the “cold war” got into gear. The Truman administration needed the unions to deal with the left labor groups of Europe and the AFL leaders were there – ready and willing.

Toward the end of World War II the AFL set up the Free Trade Union Committee (FTUC). AFL head William Green, George Meany and David Dubinsky of the ILGWU chose a man to head FTUC who had served Dubinsky as a reliable “anti -communist expert.” Jay Lovestone had been expelled from Communist Party leadership in 1929 and in the Thirties had held a position leading an anti-communist witchhunt for Homer Martin, United Auto Workers head. When Martin was defeated by Walter Reuther it was not long before Loves tone went on the ILGWU payroll, fingering his former friends for Dubinsky.

When the FTUC position was offered, Love stone called on Irving Brown, his No.1 man in the UAW anti-communist crusade. Brown dropped his job as Director of the Labor and Manpower Administration in Europe to once again become Lovestone’s chief aide – this time for bigger stakes. These two were to carry their crusading anti-communism against the growing strength of the left in the European labor movements.

As leader of FTUC, Love stone became the defacto expert on international affairs for the AFL, where he has remained despite strong CIO objections at the time of the merger of AFL and CIO. The United Auto Workers objection to Lovestone was high on the list of grievances, leading up to the recent departure of the UAW from AFL- CIO.


Irving Brown went to work in Europe, operating in France, Germany and Greece. It was in France that the general pattern of action was set with the compound fracturing of every known trade union principle.

The workers of France democratically had elected communists to the leadership of the CGT (the French equivalent of AFL-CIO) and, in so doing, they ousted those labor leaders who had served the Nazis during the German occupation of France. According to Brown, “this had been done unjustly under Communist instigation,” and contributed to a “lack of manpower on the non-Communist side”. Brown’s program was to select CGT members, finance them with “laundered” money in secret deals to which neither the AFL nor the recipients would admit, and start splitting the CGT, when the recipients were strong enough, they were then aided in forming a dual union outside the CGT, the Force Guvriere (FO).

The FO then, with a small membership of mostly white collar unions fought against the CGT and its “bread-and-butter” demands – which were the wages demanded by the overwhelming number of French workers. All of this information is thoroughly documented via the original letters of Irving Brown in a collection of the correspondence of Florence Thorne, who was Gompers’ secretary and remained in the AFL head office until the mid-fifties. [Ronald Radosh, “American Labor and U.S. Foreign Policy” pp.310-323.]

The policy of dual unionism, support of Nazi collaborators and AFL-laundered money was not enough. By 1947, the CIA was born and the “Free” Trade Union Committee had a new source of funds.

Brown needed money to import scabs from Italy, replete with goon squads to protect them in efforts to break a dock strike in Marseilles, Thomas W, Braden, European Director of CIA from 1950 to 1954, reports:

Lovestone and his assistant, Irving Brown, needed it to pay off strongarm squads in Mediterranean ports so that American supplies could be unloaded against the opposition of communist dock workers… With funds from Dubinsky’s union, they organized the Force Ouvriere, an anti communist union. When they ran out of money they appealed to the CIA. Thus began the secret subsidy of free trade unions…” [Thomas W. Braden, “I’m Glad the CIA is Immoral,” Saturday Evening Post, May 20, 1967, pp.10-12.]


The basic tactic in each European country touched by the PTUC and representing – without our knowledge -us members of the American labor movement, was rabid and unconditional anti-communism. The paranoic pre-McCarthyism of Jay Lovestone, to the exclusion of all other considerations, stood in the way of any real aid to so-called “free democratic” trade unionism. The FTUC looked for the red bogeyman and ran to the opposite corner and, in fits of tantrum, hurled the weight of the AFL and the CIA. This occurred even when the democratic decision of the workers clearly favored a left- led union. Pursuing anti- communism in lieu of supporting democratically chosen representatives of the workers, Jay Lovestone’s committee earned the contempt of organized workers in every nation touched by FTUC.

In country after country they found themselves in league not only with the CIA, but with fascists, monarchists, opportunists and thugs. Even if we assume that their purposes were the highest, the result of their work was to leave behind a divided and weakened labor movement, open prey to their home country employers and to the multinational industrial giants.


Who was calling the shots? Was it the American working people? We in the trade union movement never voted that the program of the FTUC should divide and castrate European union movements by any means necessary! Did this program simply spring from the head of David Dubinsky’s employee, Jay Lovestone, who rose – without any election – to be the hired far-righthand of George Meany? It is more likely that the program was shaped, as is usually the case, by the men who paid the bills in the inner sanctum of the CIA.

It would not be possible to accurately prove the extent to which the CIA has become the pay-master in shaping the policies of our labor movement, but there have been startling disclosures in the press. The international Federation of Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers was reported to receive $25,000 per month from a CIA conduit, the Andrew Hamilton Foundation. This money was for use in Latin America in cooperation with the AIFLD. [Washington Post, Feb. 23, 1967.] Gerald J. Poulsan of the International Association of Food and Allied Workers claimed that his organisation had been used as a cover for CIA agents. He said that eight such agents took orders from Andrew McLellan, [New York Times, Feb, 23, 1967.] The Washington Post identified William C. Doherty, Jr. as a man “closely identified with CIA operations.” Drew Pearson noted in his Feb. 24, 19 67 column that Irving Brown “spends CIA money” and that ORIT takes direction from Lovestone and with it takes CIA money.” Pearson pointed out the role of Joseph Bierne, Secretary-Treasurer of AIFLD, in channeling CIA funds, and claimed that CIA money accepted by labor organizations is “estimated at about $100 million a year.”

On the other hand, George Meany says:

Not one penny of CIA money has ever come into the AFL or the AFL-CIO to my knowledge over the last twenty years, and I say to you, if it had come in, I would know about it. [5/6/67]

It is surely not likely that, if an AFL-CIO official were receiving CIA money secretly, he would be running to the “honest plumber,” Meany, to inform him about graft. Meany’s insistence that he “would know about it” must come from his certainty that the CIA would not lay a dollar on a union without his okay. On page 354 of “Who’s Who in the CIA” we find a curious listing: “George Meany; from 1949 work for CIA.”


The FTUC became active in Latin America after World War II through the activities of Serafino Romualdi, another hireling of David Dubinsky. As an emigre from fascist Italy, it would seem that Romualdi would have been a prime candidate for work in his native country but, instead, he accepted a position as the No. 1 functionary in Latin America.

The dominant labor group in Latin America after World War II was the Latin American Confederation of Labor (CTAL). Although comprised of a cross-section of political influences, CTAL was generally leftist in its orientation. Romualdi took the task of putting together an anti-communist dual federation to break the political power of the CTAL. According to AFL’s past practices, such an undertaking called for the cooperation and assistance, if not the leadership, of the U.S. government.

With the CIO supporting the CTAL, the State Department was cagey about taking sides between our two labor federations. Winning affiliates among rightist unions was difficult without the okay of their governments and their oligarchs were unwilling to give that okay without official sanction of the U.S. State Department. To soften up the State Department, Romualdi launched an attack that made him the forerunner of the late Senator Joe McCarthy, charging that government policymakers, “If not openly allied, they are definitely supporting groups in Latin America who are enemies of the American way of life and who are followers of the Communist Party line.” [AFL Convention, Committee on International Relations, May 5, 1946.] The attack was sufficient to shake State Department functionaries and resulted in their direct cooperation with FTUC. This alliance was promptly cemented with endorsements by Nelson Rockefeller and other major industrial leaders. The doors then swung open for Romualdi’s welcome into every state-sanctioned “free” trade union office in Latin America.

By 1948 Romualdi and FTUC had driven a dual union wedge into the labor movement of Latin America. The Inter- American Confederation of Labor (CIT) was born, comprised largely of minority factions from seventeen countries. The “free and democratic” CIT lasted almost two years when changing relations between AFL and CIO allowed for a bolder and broader approach in Latin America. The fine hand of government interference stroked the healing wounds in the U.S. labor movement.


A relatively unknown labor lawyer appeared on the scene in Chicago. Fresh from service in the OSS (precursor of CIA), Arthur Goldberg was chosen general counsel to the CIO. His major involvement between 1947 and 1949 was engineering the split in the CIO which resulted in the expulsion of ten independent (“communist-dominated”) unions. The expulsion of these left-oriented unions and the growing anti-communist hysteria then opened the way for AFL and CIO agreement on international matters. The CIO withdrew from supporting CTAL and entered the newly formed anti-communist “free world” labor grouping of the international Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU). The CIT then broadened its scope to become the “Pan American” branch of the ICFTU, the Inter-American Regional Organization of Workers (ORIT) .

Arthur Goldberg rose from engineering the expulsion of the “red” CIO unions to become “architect” of the 1955 merger of the AFL and CIO. This fitted the two major federations under the international policy of Lovestone and FTUC. The “liberal” Goldberg had served the needs of Lovestone, the State Department and the CIA more effectively than any other single individual. Within three years he became Secretary of Labor, then went on to the Supreme Court and, finally, to the United Nations, [Goldberg is listed in “Who’s Who in the CIA,” p.200.]


ORIT served as the AFL and CIO arm in Latin America for more than ten years before the domination by North American unionists finally limited its effectiveness. A staff report of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations {July 15, 1968) says:

ORIT was originally founded for the specific purpose of combatting Communist infiltration of the Latin American labor movement, ORIT has never quite solved the problem of emphasis as between fighting communism and strengthening democratic trade unions… Generally speaking, in ORIT North Americans have emphasised anti- communism? Latin Americans have emphasized democratic trade unionism.

This is one reason for what seems to be a decline in ORIT prestige in Latin America. More fundamental, perhaps, has been the tendency of ORIT to support US government policy in Latin America. ORIT endorsed the overthrow of the Arbenz regime in Guatemala and of the Goulart regime in Brazil. It supported Burnham over Cheddi Jagan in Guyana, and it approved the U.S. intervention in the Dominican Republic. To many Latin Americans, this looks like ORIT is an instrument of the U.S. State Department.

Romualdi’s work in ORIT is currently sustained by Andrew McLellan who, according to Dan Kurzman in The NEW REPUBLIC, Jane, 1&66, has risen “to his present important position despite a limited trade union background. This is regarded by some AFL-CIO colleagues as more the result of ties with certain government agencies than of his labor experience,” McLellan, the Inter-American representative and AFL-CIO delegate to ORIT, finds his measure of recognition, too, in “Who’s Who in the CIA” on page 351: “from 1951 work for CIA.”

By 1961, internal eruptions and divisions made it difficult for ORIT to retain the appearance of independence and continue to reflect the Lovestone-Meany policy. Discussions began which led to the development of the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) as a prop and organizing tool to sustain the ORIT unions.


AIFLD has functioned successfully to increase AFL-CIO dominance of the Latin American labor movement. The Institute boasts of having trained 133,755 trade unionists by 1972. Of these, 1,092 people were put through their paces at the tightly guarded Little Anti-Red Schoolhouse in Front Royal Virginia and then sent home to work out the rest of their year- long stipend. In addition to the regulars, an unspecified number of Latin Americans have been brought to this country and given a grand tour of the benefits of “bread-and-butter” trade unionism. During these tours, one of the favorite stops has been Delano, California, where AIFLD attempts to use the struggle of the United Farm Workers Union as its very own showplace. [AIFLD Memo reprinted in El Siglo, Aug, 17, 1971.]

While ORIT is viewed in Latin America and the Caribbean as a tool of U.S. foreign policy, AIFLD has cut a deep swath of influence in affairs south of the Rio Grande, Subsidized bountifully by the State Department, it has been able to buy many more supporters than could be reached in the past, AIFLD has obtained everything money could buy toward creating a docile, subservient labor movement and, in so doing, has proved the magnetic persuasive capacity of the Yanqui dollar.


A fair number of AIFLD personnel was recruited from among Cuban supporters of dictator Fulgencio Batista. The AFL-CIO policy in Cuba was pushed by Romualdi r who supported the union element aligned with Batista, and Batista offered the Cuban Workers Federation (CTC) the “right” to exist in return for neutralizing the organizing efforts of working people to end the dictatorship, Eusabio Mujal, leader of CTC, was Romualdi’s man. By supporting inaction against Batista, they supported mass murder (50,000) complete political repression, government press censorship, the outlawing of political parties and any trade unions which failed to knuckle under. When the CTC rank-and-file called for strike action, Mujal suspended union elections, removed opposition members from office, declared strikes illegal and arranged with Batista for a new checkoff system. By government decree, union dues were to be paid to the national CTC office instead of to the local unions.

When Romualdi could not make a deal with Fidel Castro, he praised the “non-political character of the CTC. The Castro forces then terminated the Batista regime and forced Batista’s collaborators out of CTC. With those expulsions, CTC was put into the hands of its members, thereby losing its standing as “free and democratic” in the eyes of the AFL-CIO.


In Guatemala in 1954, Jacobo Arbenz, elected with solid labor support, started a program of land reform which threatened the interests of United Fruit Company (later to become a corporate member of AIFLD). Romualdi tried to organize a dual union to break the solidarity of Arbenz’s labor support. This foreign interference was rejected by the unions and the government, convincing George Meany that it was time to “break the shackles of Communist domination,” [Inter-American Labor Bulletin, April 1954.] Members of the unsuccessful dual union joined forces with a CIA “liberation army” under Col. Carlos Castillo Armas which toppled the Arbenz government. (Howard Hunt of Watergate fame made mention of his CIA involvement in Guatemala while testifying before the Ervin committee.) Immediately after the coup, Romualdi arrived to help the unions “reorganize their forces.” He stayed two months and left praising the Armas regime; “The people of Guatemala were solidly behind Castillo Armas and a strong wave of anti-communism was sweeping the country,” George Meany announced that the AFL “rejoices over the downfall of the Communist controlled regime,” Castillo Armas received massive economic and military aid from our tax money and instituted a bloody repression, shackling absolute control over the unions. Emil Mazey of the UAW was one of the few men in U.S. labor who voiced oppositions:

The State Department and the United Fruit Company have been manipulating the polities of that country [Guatemala]… They have organized revolutions… They have opposed land reform. They have opposed any special progress for the people… I say we have got to change this foreign policy of ours. We have got to stop measuring our foreign policy on what’s good for American business that has money invested in South America and elsewhere in the world. [CIO Executive Board Meeting, June 29, 1954.]


In Guyana (formerly British Guiana) the AIFLD financed some of its graduates for a longer-than-usual period in order to strengthen a company union in pulling off a completely political strike and lockout to oust Cheddi Jagan from leadership. Jagan was twice elected president despite AFL-CIO efforts. He was finally defeated in the chaos brought about by the CIA, using AFL-CIO unions as a front fox intervention, Arnold Zander of AFSCME publicly admitted using his union as a CIA funnel in the operation. His man in British Guiana was Howard McCabe, described in the April 23, 1967 London TIMES as a man who “appears in fact to have been a CIA operative,” He received “at least 150,000 pounds (approximately $450,000) on which reached Zander’s office to finance a “wholly political” work stoppage. Government control of unions and the use of political strikes are – according to AIFLD doctrine – the trademark of those unions which fall beyond the pale of “free and democratic.”


At the end of the dictatorship of General Trujillo in the Dominican Republic in 1362, AFL-CIO heavyweights went into action. Andrew McLellan and Fred Sommerford set themselves up as “advisers” to the newly formed United Workers for Free Unions (FOUPSA). When FOUPSA leader Miguel Soto contemplated a general strike, McLellan offered him $30,000 to call it off, Soto refused the money and thereafter was labeled a communist by the AFL-CIO representatives. McLellan and Sommerford then used the money to split several unions off from FOUPSA, establishing a small dual union, CONATRAL. [Ronald Radosh, “Labor and U.S. Foreign Policy,” p.405.]

They used CONATRAL to fight the “communist” majority of the Dominican labor movement. When FOUPSA supported liberal Juan Bosch, CONATRAL supported the Cabral regime which overthrew him by a military coup. The Bosch government had been the first in Dominican history to recognize the majority union in every factory as legal bargaining agent, Cabral, on the other hand, froze wages, outlawed strikes, fired militant workers and arrested uncooperative labor leaders – and pinned a medal on the chest of Serafino Romualdi. Cabral credited U.S. unions with the “defense of freedom in the Dominican Republic” and with transforming “into free democratic trade unions what had been a slave labor movement.” [Romualdi, “Presidents and Peons,” pp.402-3.] In the street fighting that broke out based on the split in the labor movement the overwhelming majority of workers participated in a demonstration at which effigies of McLellan and Sommerford were burned. Sommerford, incidentally, is .listed in “Who’s Who in the CIA” on page 489 as “1950-1965 work for CIA: 1956 Chief of Central American Section, Information Service of Department of State.”

CONATRAL called for military action against the Bosch government and was the only union which supported the intervention of U.S. troops. The Johnson troop intervention in 1965 was later proved to be based on completely false information – at no time was any evidence of Communist activity shown. In fact, FOUPSA (the “communist dominated” enemy unions) had, by that time, become part of the Christian Trade Union Movement (CLASC). In 1965 CONATRAL declined in strength from an estimated 100,000 to 25,000 members.

A little known AIFLD “Emergency Plan for the Dominican Republic” of November 15, 1965 (confidential memo to State Department requesting funds) reveals the organizational point of view and modus operandi. Preparation of the plan included “the ORIT representative… all AIFLD personnel in the Dominican Republic… the U.S. Ambassador… The Executive Committee of CONATRAL, the AID Director and the Labor Attache… the Ambassador and the AID Mission Director have pledged their support for our request of $50,000 for this emergency program… The plan called for a stepped-up propaganda and education campaign in addition to motorized vigilante brigades: “3) organizing campaigns in all regions- by educator-organizers which will be supplemented by a specially trained mobile group of Educator-organisers for emergency situations. These will be used to confront and battle the ‘goon squads’ of the extreme left forces. 4) An increase in means of transportation, i.e., jeeps for the educators…”

The reason for planning such extreme measures was because “CGNATRAI has been identified as a Yankee-sponsored organisation, and under present conditions this makes the organization ineffective.”

This plan was typical of operations in other Latin and Caribbean countries. The AIFLD, as a “private organization, was able to use immense backing from the State Department for the deepest possible intervention in the affairs of a nation. Our government, by itself, could never get away with such activities out in the open; it would be in violation of agreements with OAS and the United Nations. If such intervention occurred without using AIFLD as a front organization, the U.S. would become a self-confessed international gangster. The State Department has preferred the path of hypocrisy paved by the AFL-CIO.


Over all, AIFLD follows a policy laid down by its director, William C. Doherty, Jr., in a speech in 1966: “The key question of our time is the future road of their (Latin American) revolution: toward Communist totalitarianism or toward democracy. For the American labor movement this is one of the paramount, pivotal issues; all other questions… must remain secondary.” This doctrine pushes all the issues of primary importance to working people to the background. What happens to wages, working conditions, living conditions and union recognition when the No. 1 issue is anti-communism? This doctrine is the single factor responsible for AIFLD support of the brutal dictatorships of Latin America which have destroyed the various national labor movements through jails and terror, it is a betrayal of working people when we sanction any regime that permits AFL-CIO-oriented, anti-communist unions to function at a minimum level of activity while bringing an iron fist down on all other social and economic action.

Even George Meany stated in October, 1969: “We sincerely believe that the extension of dictatorship – anywhere – which is always accompanied by the destruction of free unions, represents a threat to freedom everywhere in the world.” Within this principle, AIFLD narrowly defines a “free union” as one which will take both money from AIFLD and orders from Washington. By a perverted definition – and the one now practiced – any government which permits such a union is not a dictatorship and not a threat. This justifies AFL-CIO acceptance of the dictatorship in Brazil, and virtual silence when the hatchetmen in Chile outlaw the left-oriented labor movement and murder the militants.


Reading through the AIFLD Report offers an unusual view of the organisation. The monthly house organ is a poorly edited reflection of paranoid anti-communism. The journalistic level fails to reach even that of the average high school newspaper. The only social or political issue to appear in any of the Reports between 1969 and 1973 is that of anti-communism. At no point is there any indication of any strike boycott or other labor struggle; if, indeed, the AIFLD touches even “bread-and-butter conflicts, it is not indicated. There is very little real information to be found between the constantly overblown reports on the success of the various social projects and training programs. One piece of useful information given is that the cost to AIFLD programs through 1973 comes to $43 million.

The August 1973 REPORT offers a rare insight as to how far the vision to fight a communist union can go to distort one’s consciousness. The Brazilian military dictatorship, which Doherty openly admits was aided in its coup by AIFLD, has become notorious for its broad use of torture against political prisoners and a policy of genocide against its native Indian population and many effective dissenters. There are severe anti-strike laws, wages are controlled at the lowest possible levels and the labor leadership has been decimated in an “anti-communist” drive. Heloio Magheaani, an AIFLD trustee and director of Brazil’s Workers Cultural Institute (ICT), has a long article in the issue. With not one word alluding to any of the above described crises he claims that his ICT is making an “effective contribution to the Brazilian labor movement in helping to make it into.. an independent anddemocratic movement.” He takes extreme care to assure us of ICT’s anti-communism and acceptance of Nazi-like dogma in its “philosophy of funamental democracy and deterrence of extraneous ideologies alien to the nature and feelings of the Brazilian people…” Do you hear an echo from the Labor front of Hitler Germany?

In the October 1972 REPORT, we are treated to a rare profile of one of AIFLD’ s operatives, James Nolway, the dynamic driver of AIFLD in Argentina. Here are his credentials in labor leadership and organization: he is a lawyer and graduated from Northwestern University School of Business; he was a rnember of the First National Bank of Chicago Trust Department,1954-56; staff judge advocate in the Air Force; then went into the State Department as a foreign service officer, became vice-consul to Brazil, then staff assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American loan Affairs, and — from that rank-and-file position, entered the AIFLD. It is startling that that such a man would be given a labor position, but more amazing is that AIFLD publicly boasts about him.

Leafing through issue after issue of the AIFLD REPORT one is bound to get an impression that all developments in Latin American trade unions revolve around three individuals. The publication consistently uses photos of Doherty, Meany and Joe Bierne of the Communications Workers to break up the inevitably boring filler material. The eunuch-like face of Doherty is always smiling, perhaps because he expects that repeated publication of his bosses snapshots will keep them from questioning the quality of the publication, Doherty’s diminished capacity to obtain quality journalism in his house organ is an embarrassment to union members. It must be especially degrading to members of the Newspaper Guild.

The June, 1972 issue is filled with tenth anniversary greetings to AIFLD. There are 80 greetings in all, and no indication that any were omitted. Surprisingly — of the 80 — 29 messages were sent from one of the smallest Latin American nations, Uruguay, which has been under a long totalitarian state of siege. Other greetings of interest are from Nelson Rockefeller and from Chile. The latter marks the last time Chile is mentioned at all until the junta terminated the Allende government in September 1973. This contrasts with AIFLD REPORTS previous to June ’72 which contain perfunctory notes on progress in Chile in almost every issue.

The October 1969 REPORT carries a profile of Robert J. O’Neill, program director for Chile. The cosmetically touched-up picture is of the man who represented AIFLD until the junta took over the government. O’Neill is an intelligent writer who took up law after becoming an officer in the American Association of Catholic Trade Unionists before joining AIFLD’s staff. O’Neill complains, “There are still unfounded charge a that AIFLD teaches a brand of sweetheart contract unionism or company unionism…” He also protests too much that “the role of AIFLD/Chile is not to teach our brand of trade unionism, nor is it to teach or support our economic system.” Either this shows a growing sophistication or it is in complete contradiction to the past practices of AIFLD, one item in his article gives the lie to his denial of company unionism. Strangely included in O’Neill’s description of AIPLD training courses is listed as “Time and Motion study.” Most trade unionists know that the time-and-motion engineer is the company man with the clipboard who takes notes on workers’ movements to find new speed-up methods. The workers in a shop lose no love on the time-and-motion engineer, would any union but a company union promote time-and-motion studies?


Analyzing the role of O’Neill and AIFLD in the overthrow of the Allende government of Chile may be somewhat premature. There is not much hard information to date. We will review what we can, beginning with AIFLD’s first venture in Chile.

The first entrance to Chile by AIPLD is described in “Chile Invadido” by Eduardo Labarca Godard, published in Santiago: Editora Austral, 1968. None other than William C. Donerty, Jr led a delegation to Chile in 1962; he met with labor leaders in the Pan American Hotel and offered loans for cooperatives, housing and small ?? Labarc a says Doherty’s moves were like a tank that opens the way for the infantry. Next came John Snyder and Ester Cantu. Their object was to organize telephone workers away from the militant Union of Telephone Employees. They opened an office in Santiago, were given a list of employees by the company, and launched a campaign of wining and dining. Those workers who didn’t buy the line and had influence found themselves fired for various reasons. When Doherty’s people won the next union election, the company saw to it that the former militant leaders no longer had jobs in the industry. To the credit of the workers, by 1967 the situation was reversed and the company once more had to deal with militant union representatives.

On a larger scale, AIFLD employed the dual union tactic used- in so many other countries, in 1962 AFL-CIO representative Morris Paladino went to Chile to make a deal with Jose Goldsack, a leader of the minority Christian Democrat faction of the Central Confederation of Workers (CUT). The tactic was to split the CUT convention. The tiny National Confederation of Workers (CNT) and its largest member, the Maritime Confederation of Chile (COMACH) were to demand admission to the CUT convention, Paladino was to supply all back dues; if they were denied entry, it was to signal a mass withdrawal of the minority of Christian Democrats and Paladino would pay the rent on a new hall and the first expenses of a new labor federation devoid of leftists. The plan fell through. Goldsack sacked the gold and the Christian Democrats backed out. The dual union deal is detailed by Serafino Romualdi in his book, “Presidents and Peons,” pp.345-354.

The main forces in CUT were leftists of several varieties. They held their own against AIFLD and became the strongest political force in Chile.


Through the sixties, AIFLD had unusual difficulty in Chile for several reasons. The Christian Democratic minority of unions kept vacillating in its alliances. Open collaboration with U.S. money was unthinkable; it would invite rejection by the rank-and-file. The long and militant history of organized labor in Chile placed economic exploitations by American companies high in the consciousness of the workers.

CUT presented a militant program and had the strength to win immediate gains while keeping an eye on a socialist future. This kept AIFLD at bay, especially after 1970 when CUT – as part of the Popular Unity – elected Allende president. Then, for the first time in Chilean history, CUT made political gains in the bi-elections. Continuing to spout the standard AIFLD line to CUT workers was like talking to a copper- lined wall.

The situation accounted for the sophisticated deviations of Robert O’Neill, in his AIFLD article, he dared to disown simple “bread-and-butter” unionism, it must have become clear to him that, in a nation where there was not enough bread for the working people, they – would not be persuaded by talking about butter, Chile’s history as a democracy is longer than that of any other Latin American country. In that setting, the radical actions of the labor movement had made a deep impression, proving to the satisfaction of the majority of working people and peasants that their only answer was in ridding Chile of foreign economic domination and taking social control of industrial and farm production. There was no doubt among Chile’s working people that there were more solutions to be found in political action than in “bread-and-butter 11 collective bargaining by itself.

From a Chilean worker’s viewpoint, reliance on “bread-and-butter” collective bargaining alone could, at best, give him a few more crumbs from a pie that was already divided. The multinational companies which dominate the extractive and communications industries have historically grabbed off the largest slice of the pie – long before any collective bargaining took place. The working peoples’ only hope for reaching a sufficient and growing balanced economy was to shake off the grip of the multinational corporations and the paid-off politicians and oligarchs who benefited from the status quo. If this were not true, when Allende finally nationalised the copper companies he never could have received the unanimous support of an otherwise divided and conservative Congress.


With the election of Allende, tensions grew between Chile and the U.S. State Department. Most credits and economic aid were cut off – with two exceptions; U.S. military aid and training programs continued to the tune of $12 million. Though Allende controlled the executive branch of the government, the military operated with a certain amount of independence. Judging by the events of September 11, 1973, the $12 million was a fine business investment for the expropriated U.S. copper companies. The other exception was $1 million of AID money set aside for “technical assistance.” Much of this was for the continued operation of AIFLD, which receives 92% of its funds from AID.

Robert O’Neill tells us that, through October of 1969, 5,963 Chileans had participated in AIFLD seminars in Chile. It is impossible to tell whether or not the figures are based on reality or puffery, but the 1972 ten-year report of AIFLD puts the Chile seminar total at 8,837. Between 1969 and 1972, the continuing seminars involved 2,877 more people.

The ten-year report states that 79 Chileans were graduates of the AIFLD school at Front Royal, Virginia. A memorandum from AIFLD’s Washington office dated 2/28/73 lists the names of the Front Royal graduates from Chile; there are a total of 108, indicating 29 graduates in a six-month span, opposed to 79 in a ten-year period. For a reason never explained or mentioned in public AIFLD reports, O’Neill’s staff suddenly went into high gear in the short time prior to the coup. There is a difference between including “time-and-motion” in a course for trade unionists and speeding up student turnout by 400%!

The speed-up of “education” activity multiplied AIFLD contacts and information. They were, at the time of the coup, well prepared to offer the generals detailed information on the whereabouts and activities of trade union leaders at all levels. The junta has been using that sort of information for the selective massacre of trade unionists who had been effective supporters of the Allende government. The evidence that AIFLD Chile files were used in this manner is only circumstantial.

On January 6 in 1974 the Washington POST carried an in-depth article describing the connections and similarities between the Brazilian coup and recent events in Chile. The primary Brazilian adviser to the Chileans who plotted against the Allende government was Dr. Glycon de Paiva, He recommended to his Chilean counterparts that they “create an intelligence system to study the actions of all key people and movements.” dePaiva advised using Chile’s professional organizations and said, “Only after you have established the central information banks, anti-government actions can be properly prepared and coordinated, ” Other circumstances pointing toward AIFLD complicity are the friendly attitude the junta displays toward unions connected with AIFLD, while other union activity is outlawed.


Also we get some clues to the reason for the speed-up in activity from the multinational corporation chairman of AIFLD: “The AIFLD urges co-operation between labor and management and an end to class struggle. It teaches workers to help increase their company’s business… promote democratic free trade unions; to prevent communist infiltration, and where it already exists to get rid of it.” (Address by 0, Peter Grace, AIFLD Booklet, Sept. 16, 1965.] Salvador Allende was a Marxist, the CUT was leftist, and Chile was viewed by ITT, the copper companies and the State Department as a communist menace. We can be certain that the State Department did not continue special AID funding for an AIFLD speed-up without specific purpose.

Representing 600,000 workers in 1970 and two million by 1973, CUT was not a labor federation which could fit under the AIFLD definition of “democratic and free.” Although its elections were democratic and it was not tied to any single political party, it was leftist and supported by the Marxist- oriented government. Through emphasis on organizing the unorganized, CUT left but a few unions in which AIFLD could overtly make inroads. To determine AIFLD’s activities, it is important to know something about the people and the organisations it dealt with.

The ten-year report [AIFLD-1962-1972, A Decade of Worker to Worker Cooperation] says that the Chilean Maritime Federation (COMACH) was the “major labor organization with which AIFLD cooperates,” Leaders Of COMACH were among Romualdi’s contacts and have been on AIFLD’s board of trustees since 1962. According to Jorge Kef, a Chilean Christian Democrat and professor of political science at the University of California at Santa Barbara, COMACH is not a typical Chilean union. “Its membership is largely maritime officers, many of whom served as officers in the Navy. Even those without naval background spend their first year of training in classes with naval officers.” The first city to fall in the September 11 coup was Valparaiso at 3:00 a.m. The naval officers in that port city were prominent in the leadership of the coup. A working relationship with the coup cannot be proved at this point, but there was no other reason for the unusual presence of U.S. naval intelligence in Valparaiso at the time. Additionally, off the coast of Valparaiso on September 11, 1973, U.S. vessels were standing by in maneuvers with the Chilean navy. [N.Y. TIMES, Sept. 14, 1973.] It would seem that the AIFLD activity with COMACH offered one excellent opportunity to live up to past practice and doctrine by intervening to destroy the Allende government.

Several months prior to the coup a great deal of world publicity was given to a strike by copper mine employees. This occurred after the mines were nationalized and when the economy was greatly troubled by an economic blockade. Waqe demands were not met. The government felt that the wage level of the Professional Employees Union was far above all other workers’ wages, and priority for increases was shown to those at the lowest wage level. The vast majority of production workers in the mines supported CUT and the government. Though the strike petered out, it served to promote the dissatisfaction used by the junta to justify the coup.

AIFLD was especially active among elite professional employees, engineers, supervisors and executives. Through one of its “impact programs” it gave a $5,000 assist to the Professional Employees Union of the Andes Mining Company; the money was “needed to complete a vacation colony at Rodillo Beach.” [AIFLD Report, May 1970.] While Chile was struggling with mass malnutrition AIFLD saw fit to help set up a country club, in contrast, one of the prouder achievements of Allende was a program to distribute a pint of milk a day to every Chilean child.

Though there had been professional employee associations for some time, in May 1971 AIFLD assisted the formation of the Confederation of Chilean Professionals (CUPROCH), which was started in the copper mines but became an important national force when it supported the truck owners’ and merchants’ strike in October ‘of 1972 The former secretary general of CUPROCH says that the federation was suddenly flooded with funds toward the end of the strike. This may account for the sudden drop in the black market rate for U.S. dollars. It could also account for a story by TIME correspondent Hudolph Bausch, who interviewed striking truckers near Santiago one mealtime. Despite serious shortages, they were having a “lavish meal of steak, vegetables and empanadas.” He asked them where the money for meal came from. They replied: “From the CIA.” TIME Magazine, Sept. 24, 1973.]

The influence of AIFLD-supported professional unions (CUPROCH) grew beyond anything one might expect. Its ability to finance largescale economic disruption surpassed the limits of its own treasury by leaps and bounds. The importance of CUPROCH was so great that, in his last moments of life, Allende could not avoid reference to it. When bombs were falling on the Moneda, he spoke his last words on radio; explosions can be heard in the background of the recording of this broadcast as Allende’s voice penetrates the bombardment.

Workers of my country, I want to thank you for the loyalty you have always shown, for the trust you have placed in a man who has only been the mouthpiece of the great aspirations of justice, who gave his word to respect the constitution and the law and was faithful to his promise… I am speaking to the members of the professions, those patriots who a few days ago were continuing to struggle against the revolt led by the professional unions. That is, the class unions who were trying to hold onto the advantages granted to a few of them by the capitalist society. [Emphasis added.]

Moments later the transmitter was destroyed and Allende murdered.

In those countries where AIFLD intervention has aided the overthrow of governments which threatened the continued economic domination by the multinationals, it has followed a pattern, AIFLD tries to promote its influence in the transport and communications industries. READERS DIGEST, AIFLD member and contributor, for December 1966 carries an article describing the influence of AIFLD graduates in Brazil. There, graduates saw to it that communications workers kept the lines open to facilitate the military takeover, even though it meant scabbing on the general strike called by the Brazilian labor movement. The Washington POST of Jan. 6, 1974 quotes a prominent Brazilian historian, who asks to be unidentified, speaking of the Chilean coup: “within first two days I felt I was living a Xerox copy of Brazil, 1964.”

The list of Front Royal graduates from Chile shows 37 of 108 people from the communications and transport industries. Could AIFLD have pressed the same strategy in Chile that was so disastrous to the working people of Brazil? The results surely have been similar.

In the memorandum list of Front Royal graduates seven are listed as members or officers of the professional associations and an undetermined number of others are CUPROCH members.


The organization which directed the “strike” of truck owners and merchants is called the National Command for Gremio Defense. This organization was responsible for planning and executing Chile’s internal economic chaos. It also set up paramilitary groups to terrorize supporters of the Allende government.

The word “gremio” makes for convenient confusion in English; it is often translated as union, but actually means “guild” or “society.” In Chile, a gremio is usually an association of employers s professionals or tradespeople, but it can include both workers and employers, “Gremio” embodies the AIFLD concept of labor-management solidarity moreso than any word in English. In December, 1972 Jorge Guerrero, secretary of the National Command for Gremio Defense, was invited to attend one of the advanced courses offered by AIFLD in Washington. Because AIFLD was involved with many of the Gremio people in Chile, it is important to know about the leading organizations and people in the National Command, in order of importance they are:

Confederation of Production and Commerce. Jorge Fontaine, president, comes from one of the wealthiest oligarch families, He was once publicly associated with the Nazi movement.

Society of Manufacturers. Orlando Saenz, president, is reputed to be the brain behind the National Command for Gremio Defense; served as liaison with the U.S. Embassy and was a secret director of Fatria y Liber tad (Fascist-like paramilitary organization), National Society of Agriculture, Manuel Valdes represented this group on a post- coup international good will publicity tour. He is president of the Confederation of Unions of Agricultural Employers (COSEMACH). This was the key organisation in setting up roadblocks to prevent land reform even before Allende’s election, COSEMACH led the economic disruption. A man most important in the establishment of COSEMACH was William Thayer, AIFLD trustee. The past president of the National Society of Agriculture, Benjamin Mattet was also a director of Patria y Libertad who openly advocated mass murder of all foreigners and communists.

Chamber of Construction. Hugo Leon, president; “We will carry all our forces to an enormous strike and not give in until the Armed Forces intervene and Allende is finished.” The Chamber is comprised of the largest construction companies with votes allotted according to size of company. Chamber companies halted construction on low- cost housing and then locked out workers during the pre-coup “strikes.” In some cases, they paid double wages to keep workers off the job.

Chamber of Commerce. Jorge Martinez; organized and coordinated black market activities through the organizational control of 70% of wholesale distribution.

Central Work Confederation. This group has the same initials in Spanish as CUT, the labor federation which backed Allende. The initials are designed to create confusion, both in Chile and the world press. This paper confederation was set up after the Sept. 11 coup and after the junta outlawed the two million member CUT. Central work Confederation is a “union” of businessmen which claims to be open to labor and management “equally its founder, Leon Vilarin, is also president of the National Command for Gremio Defense? He was president of the Confederation of Truck Owners of Chile, although he does not own a truck, and though now organizing a “workers confederation,” he is not a worker. These contradictions are of little importance in his relationship with AIFLD; the formation of this group closely parallels AIFLD actions in other Latin American countries.

Central Confederation of Chilean Professionals (CUPROCH). Julio Bazan, president, belongs to one of the oldest aristocratic families. He takes home $7,000 a month as a mining engineer. “No one has the right to deny me a carpeted house and a furnished patio…” It now seems inevitable that an authoritarian government will have to be imposed on Chile… such a government will rely on a combination of the armed forces and the trained educated elite… the only possibility of a right wing government would involve a massive massacre of communists and members of the Movement of the Revolutionary Left (MIR), “AIFLD was deeply involved with the groups which comprise this confederation, as evidenced by the composition of Front Royal graduates and assistance to the Andes Mining Company professionals. Such are a few of the allies of AIFLD in Chile.


The above forces, with the aid of AFL-CIO, will build “free and democratic” unions on the ashes of the left-oriented CUT and of the estimated 30,000 workers thus far slaughtered by the junta. All union activists who supported the legally elected constitutional government of Popular Unity are now labeled as communists. Many of those who have not been killed have been jailed or forced into exile or hiding; the rest who have been fingered as Allende government supporters are blacklisted and unable to find work. According to Carlos Altimirano, former government minister, 30,000 are imprisoned and 200,000 have been fired from their jobs for political reasons.

“Free, democratic” unions will probably be tolerated by the junta and the government it installs as time goes on, but there will be strict controls. Union members will “freely elect” only those who meet with the approval of the government. The unions themselves will be “free” to function just so long as they keep from pressing any troublesome demands upon the employers, the government and especially the multinational corporations.

Meanwhile, with the main body of organized labor outlawed, inflation has zoomed to an unprecedented minimum of 1100% and wages are frozen. The living standards for many thousands of families have fallen far below a starvation level. The press and other media are entirely in the hands of the junta- Curfews are in force,” violators subject to being shot on sight. Any meetings other than small family groups are violations of law. Dissenting political thought, organization and action are capital crimes. AIFLD, with junta sanction secured by the U.S. State Department and CIA, now has fertile ground in which to sink some roots, an opportunity riper than at any time in Chile’s history.

In a new development the first week of January 1974, the junta arranged for and approved a meeting of 26 small AIFLD-connected unions. This group, the Chilean National Workers Confederation led by Eduardo Rojas, president of AIFLD’s prime client union, COMACH, claims to be the “new alternative” to CUT. Its vice-president is Luis Villenas, another AIFLD graduate. The fascist junta knows which side its “bread-and-butter” unionism is on.

A recent report of labor conditions in Chile comes from the respected Mexico City daily, Excelsior. A subway under construction in Santiago was the scene of a sitdown strike against frozen wages and rocketing prices. “The workers went before the military administrator and demanded a salary increase. The military asked who the leader of the group was and all workers- raised their hands. Immediately an official ordered the soldiers to fire on all of them….with heavy machine guns… 80- 100 workers died.” In the Hirmans textile factory in Santiago, workers verbally protested on a wage issue; seven leaders were taken away by military intelligence and have not been heard from since. The IAM Machinist of January 10, 1974 quotes: “General Oscar Bonilla, the junta’s interior minister, explaining the official attitude on strikes: ‘They will not be necessary; the government will settle workers’ problems.’”


The actions of the AFL-CIO leadership in foreign (especially Latin American) affairs have a severe impact on those of us in the rank-and- file of the American labor movement. Through alliance with the major multinationals and U.S. government representatives bought and paid for by those corporations, only one thing has been gained: top men in the AFL-CIO are able to sit down with the men who run our government and deal as junior partners. This amounts to less than nothing at all on the paychecks or in the dignity of the working people of our country. In exchange for such favors, our name is used as a front for the State Department and the CIA, whose invisible tentacles wrap around the vital functioning parts of the labor movement.

As we act through AIFLD to support and sustain the most right-wing elements of labor through-out the world, we become labor relations experts for the very corporations that squeeze us every day on the job here at home. And what self-respecting true labor representative can be found who would accept domination from outside his own union? None of us would want that in our local. When we elect a man to office, we expect him to represent the members – not some well-heeled CIA-union bureaucrat with a fat wallet and fancy promises dreamed up in a corporate boardroom.

We have permitted our unions to become perverted by the dogma of anti- communism to the point where we support clearly fascist governments. By supporting such governments as those of Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay, Brawl and Chile, we are supporting the very people who murder and jail our most loyal union brothers and sisters. In the name of anti -communism, we have placed ourselves in the hands of bureaucrats who label as “communist” any threat to their own power. (In the government-controlled press of present-day Chile, even TIME Magazine and Ted Kennedy are “agents of the world-wide communist conspiracy.”)

Since when is an honest trade unionist afraid of a communist or anyone else? We’re used to all kinds of differences of opinion — you put it before the membership, argue about it, and vote.

Virulent anti-communism led our overseas representatives into dual unionism, scabbing and strikebreaking in defense of “free and democratic unions. Once down that road, it was first step or two out of the way to become willing workers for the CIA. How workers in other countries find it impossible to know the difference between the AFL-CIO and the CIA, and the term AFL-CIA has become a standard joke that is never funny.

Once involved with the CIA, the CIA was involved with us. With the CIA operating in the labor unions, we turned upon ourselves. Instead of pushing for organization of the unorganized, we saluted “communist” at those unions which would not buy U.S. foreign policy without asking questions: In place of action to end all discrimination in our unions, we kicked out those fighting hardest against discrimination and called them “red.” Instead of strengthening our ties with unions around the world in order to deal with the rising conglomerates and multinational corporations, we split international labor groups. We put our arm around the boss’ shoulder and it was “Yes, sir, brother!” We went worldwide in search of a “free, democratic, bread-and-butter labor movement” which would accept U.S. State Department policy and keep its mouth shut while the boss was talking. All the time, whoever stood in the way of the corporate financial status quo was a “communist” from the liberal Juan Bosch and the Catholic unions to the Socialist Allende and the Communist Fidel Castro.


Meanwhile, in our own backyard our corporate and government “allies” dropped the Taft-Hartley law around our necks and cinched it firm with Landrum-Griffin, all the time pushing to pass right-to-work. AFL-CIO collaboration with business and government set the scene for Meany’s willing acceptance of a place for labor on Nixon’s wage control board. Our own paid official have sat on these government- corporate- labor bodies Helping to decide how much is to be ripped off our paychecks after negotiations. Instead of outlawing strikes, the Nixon government uses labor officials to legitimise a new totalitarian control of collective bargaining. Our officials’ adherence to State Department policy pushed the AFL-CIO out front for the Indo-China war. When we, the American people, demonstrated by the millions against the war, the head of the AFL-CIO shouted “traitors and kooks and commies.” And the Amencan people, whose pressure brought home the troops and stopped the bombing, are none other than the working people of this country who paid for that war and lost our children. We are union men and women and our daughters and sons and some other workers just waiting to be organized. Instead of joining with the American people in the massive moves for peace and the continuing battle against racism, we have seen our “leaders” take a chair in the corner of the boardroom while the Nixons, the ITTs, the Kennecott Coppers and Standard Oils and united Fruits work out a policy of “cooperation and consensus.”


That consensus for labor-management- government collaboration is institutionalised in AIFLD. Labor willingly stays out in front to pacify the organizations of working people in Latin America, allowing continued multinational corporation domination of those unfortunate national economies. We work hand- in-hand with the “dirty tricks” department of the executive branch and the CIA, fastening down military dictatorships which are economically and militarily indebted to the U.S. for their very existence. Our government then supplies these dictatorships with the technical assistance and materiel to keep their miserable, poor working people in line.

On the way toward fulfilling this job, AIFLD buys off union officials with trips and paychecks and, where necessary to fulfil political goals, provides limited high-cost housing, service centers and the like. Our officials boast of these things as humanitarian efforts, they pat each other on the back, and exchange awards at banquets. They may offer the people a carrot and stick, but the people of Latin America are not donkeys. They see us as the Yankee medicine men handing out two-cent aspirins to supposedly cure a pestilence of poverty. When they can no longer bear the burden, their will to change their situation must erupt. Our government will, at a point, not be able to trust the dirty work to the Pinochets of Chile or to a Castillo Armas of Guatemala. We will once more “have to” send in the Marines or Green Berets, and we will have created a continent- wide Vietnam in the Western Hemisphere.

In the meantime, the 95 corporations behind AIFLD will rake in all profits the market will bear. When our demands for wages and conditions are higher than they want to pay, the multinational runaway shops will have a southern continent full of low- wage workers hungry for jobs. The contagion of poverty in Latin America will spread north. Those manufactured goods still produced in this country will go begging for a southern market and there will be none, because the very wealthy few who control the Latin American nations cannot consume enough to keep our assembly lines rolling.


The Latin American working people need exactly what we union members need: to be permitted to work out their own destinies in societies shaped by themselves- We wouldn’t tolerate intervention in our lives by Latin American governments — how can we expect them to accept interference from us?

If we want to do justice to our sisters and brothers in Latin America, we have to leave them alone to develop their urn ion structures and their governments according to their own choices within the dynamics of their own societies. The people of Latin America need the chance to develop balanced economies which are not open to the absurd profiteering of the multinationals. When they move to control their own economies what they don’t need any more Nixon economic blockades, and they don’t need the AFL-CIO raising the curtain for anymore military takeovers.

The withdrawal of AIFLD from service as the advance men for company unions suitable to the major corporations is the first step. If Chile had been allowed to work out her own problems without interference, we would have plants working now turning out machine tools for new industries. Her people would supply an expanding market for our consumer goods. Our giant copper companies would have to deal straight with U.S. copper miners and come a hell of a lot closer to meeting their economic demands. They would not have the option of switching production beyond our southern border in order to hold down payrolls here at home.

There are other considerations, too, which demand an end to the practices of AIFLD. We can- not keep giving our blessing to dirty trick CIA efforts to replace democratically elected governments with fascist type dictatorships. The CIA has operated inside and alongside AIFLD without any supervision from our own representatives in Congress. It has been beyond any democratic regulation. It is now impossible to measure the extent of CIA influence either in the labor movement or the U.S. government. It is not reasonable to expect the CIA to have scruples in dealing with the American people. This group of men takes on the god- like power to create fascist overthrows in Latin America and is not answerable to us. We have no control over the CIA through either the processes of government or our trade union organisations. Our labor movement has no means of control over the CIA; even the U.S. Congress, despite occasional but persistent efforts to investigate or control the CIA, has failed,

There is no one who can say that a day will not come when those invisible CIA forces feel so threatened by the American people and by our own labor movement that they openly turn on us. What happens if a nervous Nixon is impeached and won’t move out of the White House? Does he send his executive dirty tricks department out for the “mission impossible n folks in the home organization – the CIA? It takes no far stretch of imagination to envision our labor movement and our people caught in the same vise that was used in Chile, and with the same men turning the screw.


The hypocrisy of AIFLD calls for free, democratic trade unions to oppose totalitarianism. In every crisis the lushly payrolled fighters for these “free, democratic” unions invoke the armed force of totalitarian government to enforce control, even without crises, what kind of democracy is it when a completely alien force can enter a union, select a spokesman and supply him with un-limited technical help and money? The democratic choice of the rank-and-file is replaced by the outside moneybags. All the rhetoric of AIFLD cannot hide the absurd hypocrisy in its abuse of “freedom and democracy.”

The very first meetings in which AIFLD was formed characterized its future. On October 11, 1962, a Project Review Committee was set up to “coordinate activities*’ 1 In addition to Joe Beirne and his protege, William C, Doherty, Jr., the key man was Edward Powell, listed as a CIA agent, [“Who’s Who in the CIA,” p. 449.] The earliest strategy was to control the Latin American and Caribbean societies via two elements; the labor movements with AIFLD, and the military with Pentagon cash and equipment. This has been the pattern in every national crisis situation. Both control levers have had more than ample lubrication by the CIA, It is a fact that the CIA helps to determine the strategy of labor. We cannot say that labor determines any strategy for the CIA. Each national crisis has been temporarily resolved by putting the military in charge of government and AIFLD organizations in charge of a “de-politicized” labor movement.

These maneuvers prove beyond any doubt the enormous power and potential we have in the labor movement. If the destiny and control of the nations of Latin America can be locked up by the labor movement, those labor movements can be the most powerful force for unlocking such control.

Our labor movement cannot only unlock control of our Latin American policy by AIFLD, we can unlock the CIA influence on our own labor movement. We can return to the needed business of organizing the unorganized which was put aside to make way for labor- corporate -government collaboration. We can unlock the control of the great multinational monopolies which have incorporated the Nixon government so neatly into their national ripoff of our labor and our lives.

To do so, we must take the foreign policy decision making out of Jay Lovestone’s backroom.

The issues must be brought back to the rank-and-file to be determined in a truly democratic fashion. The American Institute for Free Labor Development must be abolished, with all it represents. It is time for a brand new policy of international labor solidarity based strictly on equality, without intervention, without any more money under the table, and without the CIA.

The unions of Great Britain, France and Sweden are showing their solidarity with the working people of Chile by boycotting production and shipping destined for the junta. The Chileans need our cooperation in that effort.

With liberal governments existing today in Peru and Venezuela, the danger of repeated intervention by AIFLD on behalf of the multinationals is imminent. Action to terminate the AIFLD is needed – not just for our own honor and economic well-being – but as a matter of life and death by our trade union brothers and sisters in Latin America.


The foreign policy of the AFL-CIO as it is reflected in AIFLD is not set in concrete it is largely based on the myths and prejudices that became an habitual part of our thinking during the developing “cold war.” For too many years our heads were whipped into conformity by the ism of Joe McCarthy. Under such conditions, it is not surprising that the labor movement has failed to question and defeat AIFLD policies. One large reason why the booming voice of the rank-and-file has not been raised against AIFLD is that we have not really known about it.

The fact is that meetings in most unions never get past unfinished business. We hardly ever deal with questions of foreign affairs. Instead, we leave such matters in the smooth hands of the Lovestones and the Dohertys, who gladly take our power and prestige to use as they see fit, in conjunction with the multinationals and the State Department, The AIFLD operation never has been passed upon by the AFL-CIO membership, it is time now to move the agenda to unfinished business, and finish with AIFLD.

There is a basic lie put forward by AIFLD, a lie which powers the machine. Amid the puffery and pictures which adorn the ten-year report of AIFLD is the statement that, “AIFLD has had the wholehearted backing of – most importantly – the vast majority of workers belonging to both the North and South American labor movements.” This lie is the weakness of AIFLD, and because of the lie, it can be stopped.

We could spend a hundred pages documenting the fact that AIFLD is scorned by working people from Mexico to Argentina, AIFLD could reply with self-serving statistics and statements from hundreds of Latin American labor officials. One might be convinced by their affirmation of the lie, but not after visiting and talking with working people south of our border.

To be convinced beyond doubt that their statement is a lie, it is necessary to consult “the vast majority of workers belonging to the North American labor movement.” A sampling of this has been done. A young woman sat with a telephone in Southern California and called union offices inquiring about AIFLD, both by its initials and by name. The response was that no more than two out of fifty labor officials knew even the barest detail about the organization. On the jobs and in the shops the response is clearer — not a single one of hundreds of union members canvassed had any idea at all of the existence of AIFLD.

AIFLD has none of the “wholehearted backing” it boasts. It is based on a lie* but this lie will continue to be sufficient until it is challenged. The perverted foreign affairs of the AFL-CIO will persist so long as the men and women in the shops and on the jobs in the United States remain uninformed about the AIFLD.

AIFLD has been used as the cutting edge of multinational corporate strategy in Latin America. Of course, many of the men and women who work in AIFLD do so in honesty and with naive good intentions, but the program has served to neutralize, divide and, as in Chile r attack the movement of working people. Where AIFLD tactics have failed to insure expanding profits for the multinationals it has enlisted the State Department, CIA and Pentagon for economic blockades, military coups and direct military force. The working people upon whom the strength of the AFL-CIO is based have no idea that our movement is the vanguard of this web of strategy. By raising the issue on the floors of union meetings and labor councils, the rank-and-file can come to understand what is happening and, with that awareness, move to control the International Affairs Department of the AFL-CIO and dissolve the American Institute for Free Labor Development.

The AIFLD program of hemispheric pacification can be stopped by the rank-and-file. We can blunt the edge of the most valuable cutting tool of the multinational corporations by passing resolutions in union after union and in labor councils in every major city. We can confront the AIFLD before the rank-and-file, and demolish the Meany-Lovestone lie of “wholehearted backing.” To continue to function, AIFLD must have a protective blanket of rank-and-file silence. That silence can become peals of thunder if we can move AIFLD out from the shadows of ignorance so it can be seen for what it is by union members across the United States.

Trade unionists in the United States will not be able to deal successfully with the great multinational corporations until we can end the policies reflected in AIFLD. We will never be able to act in solidarity with working people in Latin America until the AFL-CIO stops the program of division and subversion of independent and militant unions.

By ending that policy, we can cement the solidarity needed to take on the multinationals and break the corporate grip which exploits and threatens working men and women throughout our hemisphere.


WHEREAS there is abundant evidence that the AFL-CIO has been involved in Latin America and the Caribbean in actions that violate basic labor principles, and

WHEREAS actions have it appears that U.S. labor been instrumental in precipitating governmental takeovers and violence against unionists and working people abroad; and

WHEREAS the AFL-CIO, through the American Institute for Free Labor Development, has involved the labor movement in questionable relations with multinational corporations, the U.S. State Department and the CIA;

THEREFORE, unless the AFL-CIO Executive Council can provide contrary evidence,

BE IT RESOLVED that this Labor Council disassociate itself from any further actions of the AIFLD, and demand the dissolution of the Institute and complete disentanglement of the AFL-CIO International Relations Department with government and business strategies abroad.


WHEREAS delegates of the Santa Clara County Central Labor Council have received in recent weeks copies of a 46-page report entitled “An Analysis of Our AFL-CIO’s Role in Latin America”; and

WHEREAS the report quotes apparently authentic documents linking the AFL-CIO with anti-labor corporations and such government agencies as the CIA in Latin America, and specifically in Chile, functioning in an organization called the American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD); and

WHEREAS the report charges that AIFLD activities have constituted intervention against the best interests of the Labor movement in Latin America and the United States.

THEREFORE BE IN RESOLVED that the Santa Clara County Central Labor Council requests the AFL-CIO to respond and to provide information that will enable this Council to reaffirm the integrity and high purpose of the AFL-CIO in foreign, as well as in domestic affairs, as well as in domestic affairs, on behalf of all working people, here and abroad.

Respectfully submitted by AFL Local 2390.

[Passed at meeting of Santa Clara County Central Labor Council, Monday, March 4, 1974.]



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