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Trade unions in Ecuador

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Title: Trade unions in Ecuador  
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Subject: Trade unions in Ecuador, LGBT history in Ecuador, 1998–99 Ecuador banking crisis, Health in Ecuador, Trade unions in Colombia
Collection: Trade Unions in Ecuador
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Trade unions in Ecuador

Disunited and poorly organized for most of its history, trade unions in Ecuador developed only slowly and had only a marginal political impact. Precise figures on

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Rex A. Hudson. "Labor". Ecuador: A country study (Dennis M. Hanratty, ed.). Library of Congress Federal Research Division (1989).  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.


FUT emerged in 1971 and eventually united the three main confederations—Cedoc, CEOSL, and CTE—plus a number of independent unions, including the Catholic Federation of Workers (Central Católica de Obreros, CCO), making FUT the country's largest workers' confederation. By the 1980s, FUT totaled an estimated 300,000 members and emerged as the leader of a massive movement that arose spontaneously to protest the economic crisis, and that greatly outnumbered the ranks of unionized workers. FUT nearly toppled President Osvaldo Hurtado in 1982 when he introduced austerity measures in the face of the debt crisis. In June 1988, FUT, together with the National Coordinator of Workers (Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores, CNT), the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador, or Conaie), and FP, staged a one-day national strike aimed at obtaining a large increase in the minimum wage and a freeze on the prices of basic goods. It was the seventh general labor action against the Febres Cordero government and coincided with an ongoing strike by the UNE for a rise in monthly wages. The impact of FUT remained limited, however, because the federation tended to maintain its working-class orientation, based on wage claims, and in practice gave relatively little importance to the claims of other sectors that looked to it for leadership.[1]

[1] The

[1] The

[1] Through militant activities, such as petitions, collective conflicts, and general strikes, the CTE—composed predominantly of industrial workers and led by members of the communist and socialist parties—emerged as the principal labor organization in Ecuador in the late 1970s. Although the CTE had become the largest of the three national confederations by the 1970s, its hegemony declined in the 1980s as a result of the growth of rival confederations, internal conflicts and splits, and governmental repression. In 1987 only a shadow remained of its peasant federation, the

[1] Cedoc was never an effective articulator of worker interests, being more concerned with religious causes, combating efforts to eliminate exclusion of ecclesiastical control and influence in labor organizations, and curtailing

Although union organizations began forming in Ecuador early in the twentieth century, organized workers did not begin to acquire any influence until the late 1930s. Key events in Ecuador's labor history took place in 1938 with the promulgation of the Labor Code and the founding of the first labor confederation, the Confederation of Ecuadorian Workers (Confederación de Trabajadores Ecuatorianos, CTE), which began operating in 1944. A total of 3,093 unions were established between 1950 and 1973.[1]


Professional or employee associations (cámaras), composed of middle-class, white-collar workers, constituted about 25 percent of all trade unions. Representing the dominant economic groups in the country, these associations exercised a predominant influence on economic policy; their representatives frequently held cabinet posts and other top government positions dealing with economics. The support of the associations proved crucial to most governments.[1]


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