|IAM President Tom Buffenbarger became the first union official from North America to address the Czech Metalworkers Federation.|
Speaking in Prague as the first international union president from North America to address the Czech Metalworkers’ Federation (OS KOVO), IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger praised the federation’s successful effort to restore independent trade unionism to the Czech Republic. OS KOVO is the largest trade union federation in the Czech Republic and represents more than 200,000 workers at 1,100 companies in the metalworking industry.
“The members of OS KOVO unions have a well-deserved reputation for advanced industrial manufacturing that places them in the top tier of the world’s skilled craftsmen and women,” said Buffenbarger to more than 200 delegates at the 2013 OS KOVO Congress in Prague. “You also deserve the respect of union members everywhere for your epic struggle to rebuild this federation following your nation’s return to independence in 1989.”
Buffenbarger spoke on behalf of the IAM’s 700,000 active and retired members in North America and as Vice President of IndustriALL Global Union, the Geneva, Switzerland-based union federation representing 50 million workers in 140 countries.
“The president of OS KOVO, Josef Stedula, also deserves special recognition for his commitment to solidarity, collective bargaining and workers’ rights during a period of great social and economic upheaval,” said Buffenbarger. “His leadership and the achievements of OS KOVO members will serve as an inspiration to workers everywhere for years to come.”