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The American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD) was founded in 1962 as the international arm of the AFL-CIO in the western hemisphere. AIFLD has been described by former CIA officer Philip Agee as a "CIA-controlled labor center financed through AID." It did in fact receive funding from the US government, mostly through USAID (United States Agency for International Development), and starting in the 1980s it began receiving funds from the NED (National Endowment for Democracy). The AIFLD was at its origins organized by Jay Lovestone and Irving Brown.

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The AIFLD

A US Comptroller General's report says "In May 1961 the AFL-CIO approached private foundations, business men, and government agencies to seek financing for the planned Institute". George Meany, President of the AFL-CIO and also of AIFLD, boasted support from the "largest corporations in the United States . . . Rockefeller, ITT, Kennecott, Standard Oil, Shell Petroleum . . . Anaconda, even Readers Digest. . . and although some of these companies have no connection whatsoever to US trade unions, they are all agreed that it was really in the US interest to help develop free trade unions in Latin America, and that's why they contributed so much money".

J. Peter Grace, Chairman of the Board of AIFLD and also Chairman of the Board of the W.R. Grace Corporation, one of the 95 transnational companies that back the Institute, says AIFLD urges "cooperation between labor and management and an end to class struggle" and "teaches workers to increase their company's business". He says the goal of AIFLD is to "prevent communist infiltration, and where it exists . . . get rid of it".

Transformation into the ACILS (1997)

In October 1995, John Sweeney replaced Lane Kirkland as head of the AFL-CIO. A few months later, the AFL-CIO asked the AIFLD executive director, William Doherty, Jr., to resign, and he did so. In 1997, the AIFLD was reorganized into the American Center for International Labor Solidarity.

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