A History of Organized Labor in Cuba

By Robert J. Alexander | Go to book overview

7
Soviet-Style Labor Movement
in Castro’s Cuba

After the Castro government’s seizure of control of the labor movement from those who had been elected to lead it in 1959, organized labor and its relations with the state—virtually the only employer—underwent a total transformation. This change involved both a reorganization of the structure of the trade union movement and a 180–degree alteration of the role that it had traditionally played.


REORGANIZATION OF THE CTC

The thorough purge of the Confederaciόn de Trabajadores de Cuba and its constituent unions paved the way for a complete reorganization of the CTC, in terms of not only personnel, but structure and basic nature. These changes began when a congress of the Construction Workers Federation decided to put an end to the craft structure that had been characteristic of the unions in that federation. Other changes began to occur in other national affiliates of the CTC.

In March 1961, the Ministry of Labor presented the Executive Committee of the CTC with a proposal for a basic reorganization of the structure of the labor movement. According to the ministry, these changes were accepted “unanimously and enthusiastically” by the CTC Executive. They were issued in the form of a law in August 1961.1

This new law altered fundamentally the basic structure of the labor movement. In place of the comparatively loose structure of the CTC as a confederation of rather loosely joined autonomous federations, there was established a highly centralized organiza-

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