AAFLIAsian American Free Labor Institute
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AAFLI's ideological mission in the Philippines was recently bolstered by a hefty grant from the National Endowment for Democracy, a foundation set up by Congress to "strengthen democratic institutions' abroad.
According to a confidential document obtained by a Congressional staff member, the endowment budgeted $3.2 million for AAFLI programs in the Philippines through April 1985.
unions and gain political allies for AAFLI. Regional labor leaders receiving institute money "are becoming powerful politically,' he boasted.
Although AAFLI appears to be open about how it uses endowment money, details about the location and scope of its projects are kept secret by mutual agreement among the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the endowment and a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee.
Last year, AAFLI's enormous spending aroused the suspicion of the labor attache at the U.S.
Thus, it presents AAFLI with a task somewhat different from that undertaken in the largely rural Phillippines.
labor attache to Seoul, the government "treats workers like we used to treat the blacks,' AAFLI's style of trade unionism has become more and more irrelevant.
But amid some of the harshest repression ever seen in South Korea, AAFLI is determined to keep the labor movement out of politics altogether.
AAFLI's version of solidarity does not extend to the hundreds of unionists who have lost their jobs because of government and company harassment, however--a lesson that one group of Korean workers learned the hard way.
In 1981, while Paladino was visiting Seoul, a group of garment workers seized the AAFLI office there to protest his refusal to meet with their illegal union.
"Many Koreans know the truth about AAFLI and the FKTU's relationship to the KCIA," Kwon Young Gil, a third-party candidate in South Korea's recent presidential election and the first president of the KCTU, told me during a recent visit to Washington.
Sweeney himself, and several members of his executive council, were board members of AIFLD and the other institutes, and would likely be uncomfortable with a full probe of the past--as would ACILS executive director Harry Kamberis, a former Foreign Service officer who held senior positions in AAFLI during the 1980s.