This week the Los Angeles County Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, announced the first formal relationship between a U.S. central labor council and a counterpart in China.
The agreement with the 6 million-member Shanghai Municipal Trade Union Council brings together unions from the two largest economies on the Pacific Rim and whose ports annually handle billions of dollars in goods.
According to an article in the Sacramento Bee, Maria Elena Durazo, the labor federation's chief, "acknowledged communist China and the United States have vastly different economic systems. But, she said, as the global economy expands its reach, workers are increasingly serving the same multinational corporations."
The arrangement is meant as a first step to bring unions in China and the US together to strengthen their positions against multinational corporations trying to use globalization to drive down wages, worsen working conditions, or avoid health and safety laws.