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Romania Table of Contents


General Union of Trade Unions

As the official organization representing all blue- and whitecollar workers, the General Union of Trade Unions of Romamian (Uniunea Generala Sindicatelor din Romānia-- UGSR, see Glossary) was the largest of the country's mass organizations, with a membership of 7.3 million in 1985. Headed by a Central Council, the UGSR consisted of eleven labor union federations and forty-one area councils, one for each judet and the city of Bucharest. The Central Council had a chairman, appointed by the PCR Central Committee, eight vice chairmen, two secretaries, and an executive committee of forty-eight members. In the late 1980s, there were an estimated 12,000 local union units.

The primary function of the labor unions was the transmission of party policies to the rank and file. The UGSR statutes specified that the organization would conduct its activities under the political leadership of the PCR; a similar provision was included in the statutes of the judet UGSR committees. In early 1971, in the aftermath of increased labor problems, the PCR took steps to reform the labor union organization. Proclaiming a democratization of the UGSR and its component unions, Ceausescu promised workers protection of their interests and a voice in the appointment of industrial management. According to Ceausescu, democratization meant that the labor unions would serve the party as a framework for organizing consultations with the masses and as a forum where workers could debate the country's economic and social development. But UGSR statutes introduced later that year failed to reform the system, and labor unions were still unable to take the initiative in matters of wages and the standard of living (see Labor , ch.3).

Data as of July 1989