Person

Sharan Burrow

Nationality:

Australian

Role:

Labor Union Activist

Occupation:

General Secretary of International Trade Union Confederation

Co-chair of the World Economic Forum in Davos

Former president of the Australian Council of Trade Union

Sharan Burrow is an Australian trade union official who currently serves as general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation. She had a long career in the labor movement. Beginning as a member of a teachers’ union, she went on to lead several labor organizations, including the Australian Council of Trade Unions. She is a co-chair of the World Economic Forum, the annual conference held in Davos, Switzerland. [1]

Background

Sharan Burrow is the general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, a large international alliance of labor unions. [2] The confederation of unions claims to represent 176 million workers in more than 162 countries and territories around the world. [3] Burrow leads the union from an office in the north Brussels business district. [4]

Burrow is the co-chair of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Part of her task with the Davos group is deploying teams of researchers to stay ahead of global labor markets. She has also said she focuses on ensuring labor unions do not divide over issues of immigration and technology. [5]

Burrow was ranked 16th on the list the most influential women in Brussels by Politico in 2016. [6]

Australian Labor Movement

Burrow, of Australia, is a graduate of the University of New South Wales in 1976. [7]

Formerly a school teacher, she has been a veteran of the labor movement. She became an organizer for the NSW Teachers’ Federation based in Bathurst and was the president of the Bathurst Trades and Labor Council during the 1980s. She was elected as the senior vice president of the NSW Teachers’ Federation and later the president of the Australian Education Union. [8]

From 1995 to 2000, Burrow was the vice president of Education International, an international teachers’ union federation representing 24 million members worldwide. [9]

In May 2000, Burrow was the second woman to be elected president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. [10] She led the ACTU in opposition in 2007 to the center-right Howard government’s WorkChoices employment relations legislation. [11]

She was also a member of governing boards for the International Labor Organization, Global Reporting Initiative. [12]

ITUC

In 2010, Burrow was the first woman to ever be elected to the top spot for the International Trade Union Confederation at the group’s World Congress in Vancouver. [13] Burrow was re-elected in Berlin in May 2014 and in Copenhagen in December 2018. [14]

Previously, she was the ITUC president (the organization’s second-ranking official) when the confederation began in 2006. [15] She was elected to that office at the First World Congress meeting in Vienna. She was re-elected to that office four years later at the gathering in Miyazaki. [16]

During a May 2019 ITUC conference speech, Burrow said the global economy has been a “model of inequality.” Burrow said that 60 percent of the global workforce is working in the shadows without wage and labor protections and added that modern slavery is increasingly emerging in supply chains of multinational companies. [17]

Burrow has joined the global warming cause and warned union members not to put the interest of energy jobs before the climate, asserting “There are no jobs on a dead planet.” [18]

References

  1. Staff. “The Women Who Shape Brussels.” Politico. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.politico.eu/list/the-women-who-shape-brussels/sharan-burrow/ ^
  2. Sim, Berengere. “In Davos, Pioneering Women Are Chose to Lead Again.” The New York Times. January 21, 2018. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/21/business/davos-world-economic-forum-women-leaders.html ^
  3. Patty, Anna. “Sheran Burrow Wins Another Term at Top of Union.” Sydney Morning Herald. December 7, 2018. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.smh.com.au/business/workplace/sharan-burrow-wins-another-term-at-top-of-union-20181206-p50knl.html ^
  4. Staff. “The Women Who Shape Brussels.” Politico. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.politico.eu/list/the-women-who-shape-brussels/sharan-burrow/ ^
  5. Staff. “The Women Who Shape Brussels.” Politico. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.politico.eu/list/the-women-who-shape-brussels/sharan-burrow/ ^
  6. Staff. “The Women Who Shape Brussels.” Politico. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.politico.eu/list/the-women-who-shape-brussels/sharan-burrow/ ^
  7. Sheran Burrow. ITUC. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.ituc-csi.org/sharan-burrow-6329 ^
  8. Sheran Burrow. ITUC. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.ituc-csi.org/sharan-burrow-6329 ^
  9. Sheran Burrow. ITUC. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.ituc-csi.org/sharan-burrow-6329 ^
  10. Sim, Berengere. “In Davos, Pioneering Women Are Chose to Lead Again.” The New York Times. January 21, 2018. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/21/business/davos-world-economic-forum-women-leaders.html ^
  11. Australian Associated Press. “Top Honour For Aust Ex-Union Boss Burrow.” Yahoo Finance. June 9, 2019. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/top-honour-for-aust-exunion-boss-burrow-005311947.html ^
  12. Sheran Burrow. ITUC. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.ituc-csi.org/sharan-burrow-6329 ^
  13. Sim, Berengere. “In Davos, Pioneering Women Are Chose to Lead Again.” The New York Times. January 21, 2018. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/21/business/davos-world-economic-forum-women-leaders.html ^
  14. Sheran Burrow. ITUC. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.ituc-csi.org/sharan-burrow-6329 ^
  15. Sim, Berengere. “In Davos, Pioneering Women Are Chose to Lead Again.” The New York Times. January 21, 2018. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/21/business/davos-world-economic-forum-women-leaders.html ^
  16. Sheran Burrow. ITUC. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.ituc-csi.org/sharan-burrow-6329 ^
  17. Fry, Elizabeth. “Sheran Burrow: The World Must Change.” Investment Magazine. May 8, 2019. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.investmentmagazine.com.au/2019/05/sharan-burrow-the-world-must-change/ ^
  18. McCauley, Dana. “‘No Jobs on a Dead Planet,’ Warns World’s Top Union Leader.” Sydney Morning Herald. June 18, 2019. Accessed October 13, 2019. https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/no-jobs-on-a-dead-planet-warns-world-s-top-union-leader-20190617-p51yia.html ^

Connected Organizations

  1. International Trade Union Confederation (Labor Union)
    General Secretary
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