Merger talks between the United Steelworkers union (USW), based in the U.S. and Canada, and Amicus, the 1-million-member-strong and largest union in the UK, will open at the end April. The possible merger would unite workers on both sides of the Atlantic, strengthening their ability to protect jobs, increase wages and benefits, and improve working conditions in the wake of corporate globalization.

Derek Simpson, Amicus’ general secretary, told reporters that a merger with the USW is a step toward “a single global trade union movement capable of challenging the might of multinationals.” A merger, for instance, would prevent companies with plants in all three countries from pitting workers against each other with the result of lower wages, layoffs and declining benefits.

The USW has generations of experience negotiating contracts where laws vary from state to state and country to country. For example, the USW is just completing successful negotiations with the rubber companies like Bridgestone/Firestone, where some of the corporation’s plants are in “Right to Work” (for less) Southern states and others are in Northern states where labor laws are stronger.

Health care is another issue where the union has negotiated contracts that benefit workers under a national health care system (in Canada) and under the private health care system in the U.S.

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