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Global Labor Movements and the Role of Trade Unions in the Green Transition

November 28, 2023 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm EST

The world of work is undergoing an unprecedented period of change and transformation driven by technological advancements as well as external factors. Globalization, demographic trends, technology, and the environment are all having an impact on today’s labor markets and are likely to shape those of the future. Although membership has been on the decline, trade unions are on the front line in efforts to find innovative responses to the myriad challenges of structural change.

Many have spoken out in support of the transition to a green economy, but very few have focused on the development of a “just transition” strategy proposed by global labor unions – which fight for fundamental rights and more just social interactions. How do trade unions respond to global trends and geopolitical developments? Is there a new global labor movement? What is the scope of “just transition” today, and how have labor unions developed and refined it to make the move toward a green economy both environmentally and socially sustainable? Is the road to net zero paved with jobs?

On Tuesday, November 28, the American Council on Germany and 1014 will host a second virtual discussion on the future of work with Thorben Albrecht, Policy Director of IG Metall and former State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, and Dr. Annelise Orleck, Professor of History at Dartmouth College.

Thorben Albrecht currently serves as Policy Director of IG Metall, the German metalworkers’ trade union. He is an internationally recognized expert on the future of work. His fields of expertise include automation and artificial intelligence, new forms of work, and managing transitions, including skills development, flexibility arrangements, and social dialogue.

From 2017 to 2019, Mr. Albrecht was a member of the Global Commission on the Future of Work established by the International Labor Organization (ILO). He also served as Permanent State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (2014-2018). From 2008 to 2013, he was Head of Office for Andrea Nahles and of the policy department of the Executive Board of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD). Prior to that he worked for the National Executive Board of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) as Head of Division responsible for the coordination of European affairs.

Dr. Annelise Orleck is a professor at Dartmouth College where she focuses on history, politics, activism, American radicalism, race studies and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. She is the author of several books, including Rethinking American Women’s ActivismStorming Caesars Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty; and Common Sense and a Little Fire: Women and Working Class Politics in the U.S.


November 28, 2023
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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