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The Solidarity Center a 501c(5) organization charted by the AFL-CIO, provides struggling unions and their allies with the support and technical assistance needed to grow stronger and contribute to the development of democratic institutions and processes throughout the world. Strong, effective and politically independent trade unions, with a legitimacy that comes from their members, are effective advocates for worker rights and human rights as well as the architects of more democratic societies. The underlying principle of the Solidarity Center is that freedom of association is the bedrock right of a democratic society. Without freedom of association, there are no free trade unions, and without free trade unions, democratic processes are weak, threatened, or nonexistent. As demonstrated in Poland, South Africa and most recently in Serbia, a strong trade union movement is a necessary precondition to building and maintaining a democracy.
To accomplish its objectives, the Solidarity Center provides workers and their unions with information about internationally recognized workers' rights, organizing, collective bargaining, representation, and democratic advocacy. The organization of workers into free and independent trade unions and the practice of collective bargaining are central to economic, social, and political development. The Solidarity Center operates a network of field offices located in every region of the world with contacts reaching tens of thousands of unions and other indigenous civic organizations at the national, regional and local levels. These organizations have a combined membership of more than 200 million and often represent the largest grassroots institutions in their respective countries.