American center for international labor solidarity

Full name American Center for International Labor Solidarity
Native name Solidarity Center
Founded 1997
Country United States
Head union Nancy Mills, Interim Executive Director
Affiliation AFL-CIO
Key people John J. Sweeney, Board of Trustees Chair
Office location 888 16th Street NW, Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20006; global field offices

The American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS), better known as the Solidarity Center, is a non-profit organization affiliated with the AFL-CIO labor federation that serves as a conduit for US foreign aid.

Its stated mission is to help build a global labor movement by strengthening the economic and political power of workers around the world through effective, independent, and democratic unions.


The AFL-CIO established ACILS in 1997. The Solidarity Center was created through the consolidation of four labor institutes: the American Institute for Free Labor Development, the Asian-American Free Labor Institute, the African-American Labor Center, and the Free Trade Union Institute. The pre-existing institutes were merged by John Sweeney when he was President of the AFL–CIO.

The AFL-CIO had worked internationally for many decades. With some funding from the OSS and CIA, it had worked to stop Communist movements in Western Europe after World War II.[1] In Guyana, labor unions and the CIA supported a general strike that stopped the People's Progressive Party (PPP) government from creating another PPP/state-controlled labor union.[2][3]


The Solidarity Center classifies its funding into the following program types:[4]

  • Worker & Human Rights
  • Organizing & Bargaining

The Solidarity Center assisted in Haiti's FTZ (Free Trade Zone). When textile manufacturer Grupo M, the Dominican Republic’s largest employer, applied to the International Finance Corporation (the World Bank’s private sector lending arm) for a $20 million loan to open a factory on the Haiti-Dominican border, the Solidarity Center, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and the Dominican Federation of Free Trade Zone Workers (FEDOTRAZONAS) worked together to condition the loan on respect for worker rights.

  • Global Economy
  • Gender & Equality
  • Safety & Health
  • Migration & Human Trafficking


Over 96% of its funding comes from the United States federal government, mostly through the National Endowment for Democracy.[5] The NED distributes grants to four institutes, two associated with economic interests and two with political interests. The Solidary Center is associated with labor and the Center for International Private Enterprise is associated with the Chamber of Commerce. There are two institutes associated with the major U.S. political parties, the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.[6][7] The open allocation of funding to these institutes has been intended to provide greater transparency to U.S. citizens, as appropriate for a democracy, than did the pre-1980s practice of providing covert funding through the CIA.[8]

The Solidarity Center receives funding from labor unions and solicits individual donations on its website.[9]

Field Offices

In addition to the international headquarters, the Solidarity Center maintains the following field offices:[10]


Further reading

Organized labour portal
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