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Economic Recovery, Trade Unions, and the Future of Work

March 16, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT

The pandemic has forced companies around the globe to adapt their business models. Due to public health concerns and lockdowns, many companies had to lay off or furlough workers. In Germany, Kurzarbeit policies softened the economic blow. With the rollout of vaccines and the passage of economic recovery bills, what does the future hold for organized labor, trade unions, and the workers they represent? Has the pandemic accelerated digitalization trends in manufacturing?

Join the American Council on Germany and 1014 for a discussion about how trade unions are coping with the impact of Covid-19 with Reiner Hoffmann, the Chairman of the German Trade Union Confederation (Deutsche Gewerkschaftsbund or DGB), and John E. Shinn, International Secretary and Treasurer of the United Steelworkers.

Reiner Hoffmann was elected Chairman of the German Trade Union Confederation (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund), one of the biggest national confederations of trade unions worldwide, in 2014 and re-elected in 2018. He became a member of the Executive Board of the DGB in 2014. Prior to this, he was a Regional Director of IG BCE – Industriegewerkschaft Bergbau, Chemie, Energie (the Industrial Mining, Chemistry, and Energy Union) of North Rhine.

Mr. Hoffmann served as Deputy Secretary-General of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) from 2003 to 2009 and Director of the European Trade Union Institute (EGI) in Brussels from 1994 to 2003. Prior to that, he worked at the Hans Böckler Foundation in Düsseldorf from 1983 to 1994. Mr. Hoffmann started his career as a trainee at Hoechst and continued his education studying at the Bergische Universität-Gesamthochschule Wuppertal. He completed his studies in 1982 as a graduate economist and worked for a limited time as an assistant to the Economic and Social Committee of the European Community in Brussels. Mr. Hoffmann has been a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) since 1972. He serves on numerous Boards, including those of Bayer AG and Atlantik-Brücke.

John E. Shinn is the International Secretary-Treasurer of the United Steelworkers, and has served as the union’s chief financial officer since July 15, 2019. Prior to this appointment, he was Director of District 4, which includes Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Puerto Rico. As Director, Mr. Shinn aggressively promoted the USW, its members and job creation in the District. Shortly after taking office, he coordinated the USW’s response to Hurricane Sandy, which tore through the Mid-Atlantic region in October 2012.

Mr. Shinn has been a union activist throughout his career, which began in 1974 at CE Glass Co., now AFG Industries, in Cinnaminson, N.J. Shortly after joining CE Glass, he voted for representation by the United Glass and Ceramic Workers Union, which later merged with the Aluminum, Brick & Glass Workers International Union (ABG) and then the USW in 1997. Over the years, Mr. Shinn has served on many labor councils and community and safety organizations. He currently serves on the New York AFL-CIO Executive Council.


March 16, 2021
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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