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Trade unions exist to harness workers’ collective action as a means of challenging the dominant power structures that seek to exploit their labour. This article highlights the experiences of Black women trade unionists in different parts of the world who were motivated to join trade unions in order to defend workers’ rights and to advance the interests of women workers – especially Black and racialised women workers. The lived experiences of the women interviewed for this article show how the intersection of gender, race, social class, migration status, and age exposes Black women workers to the specific harms of racist, capitalist patriarchy. The women have all faced strong opposition to change both within and outside their own organisations and have had to resist considerable pressure to ‘fall in line’. Yet through this resistance, they have managed to drive progress and transformational change within unions, thereby making a significant contribution to advancing the aims of women’s and feminist movements globally.

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