TUAC has 59 affiliated trade union centres in OECD countries, representing more than 58 million workers in 2018, as well as associate members in Brazil, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and South Africa. TUAC operates through its Paris-based secretariat. TUAC’s origins go back to 1948 to the trade union advisory committee established under the Marshall Plan. When the OECD was created in 1962, TUAC continued its work of representing organised labour’s views.
TUAC’s policy advocacy aims at creating shared prosperity within and between countries, including quality jobs, and to asserting the positive role of trade unions and collective bargaining in achieving inclusive growth. Access to OECD discussions enables TUAC to act as a “first mover” within the labour movement in responding to new and emerging policy challenges.
TUAC works closely with other international trade unions, including the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), with which it co-ordinates trade union inputs to the G20 (through the Labour 20) and G7 processes, and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). On sector specific issues TUAC works with the Global Union Federations (GUFs) and is a member of the Council of Global Unions.
An annual meeting of the TUAC/ OECD Liaison Committee is organised with members of the OECD Council and the OECD Secretariat to allow for exchanges on future policy priorities and recommendations. TUAC releases a statement for, and attends, the annual OECD Ministerial Council Meeting. It also submits policy evaluations to the OECD Council throughout the year. Trade union representatives participate in over 60 OECD bodies (OECD Committees and Working Groups) and policy events.
TUAC’s consultative status at the OECD enables an ongoing social dialogue. On average, over 500 trade union representatives take part in TUAC and OECD meetings each year.
TUAC briefs affiliates on current OECD projects and policies on an ongoing basis and coordinates policy statements and evaluates the outcomes of OECD meetings and publications. The TUAC secretariat regularly presents OECD policy issues at trade union and other external meetings.
TUAC has three standing Working Groups – Economic Policy, Responsible Business Conduct, and Education and Training – as well as several ad-hoc policy groups. The Working Groups prepare TUAC positions for TUAC’s biannual membership meetings (Plenary Sessions), as well as for consultations with the OECD. Working Groups are open to all affiliates, international trade unions and TUAC partner organisations. In addition, other hoc meetings are held to address specific topics.
The President, Vice-Presidents and the General Secretary are elected for four-year renewable terms.
In September 2013, Richard Trumka was re-elected President of the AFL-CIO. His election followed 15 years of service as the AFL-CIO’s Secretary Treasurer. It capped Trumka’s rise to leadership of the nation’s largest labour federation from humble beginnings in the small coal mining communities of southwest Pennsylvania. Richard Trumka was elected President of the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the OECD in 2010.
Richard worked in the mines for more than seven years, working his way through Penn State University, where he graduated in 1971 with a Bachelor of Science degree, and eventually got a law degree from Villanova University in 1974. He worked on the legal staff of the United Mine Workers for four years before returning to mine work in 1979.
Once back at work in the mining community, Trumka rose quickly through the ranks, first serving as chair of UMWA Local 6290’s safety committee and later on the union’s International Executive Board. At 33, he was elected the UMWA’s youngest president.
By his third term as president of the Mine Workers in 1995, Trumka’s record of activism, innovation and reform was firmly established and well known to AFL-CIO union presidents. In 1995, Richard became the youngest Secretary- Treasurer in AFL-CIO history.
The TUAC Plenary Session is the official decision-making body. It meets twice a year and gathers TUAC affiliates and representatives of other international trade unions. The Plenary Session discusses and approves policy statements, the work programme, budget, and future priorities. It also elects TUAC Officers.
The Plenary Session is supported by the Administrative Committee, which is in charge of overseeing the management of TUAC. The Administrative Committee comprises the President, Vice-Presidents and the General Secretary, as well as its members which are currently from the following organisations: AFL-CIO, USA; CSC, Belgium; RENGO, Japan; ASÍ, Iceland and YS, Norway (on behalf of the Council of Nordic Trade Unions (NFS)); TUC, United Kingdom; DGB, Germany; CFDT, France; Cgt-Force Ouvrière, France; UIL, Italy; ÖGB, Austria; and CLC, Canada.