Insider

Brazilian trade unions lose 97 percent of revenue since labor reform

trade unions revenue labor reform
Photo: José Cruz/ABr

Among its key provisions, the 2017 labor reform ended mandatory union dues, by which each registered worker would be bound to pay a day’s salary to their sector’s trade union — a provision created in the 1940s to prop up labor organizations.

Since the labor reform was enforced in November 2017, that contribution became optional — and funding for trade unions has all but disappeared. Data from the Labor Ministry shows that union revenue dropped 97.5 percent between 2017 and 2021.

Critics of the reform claim it has failed to reach its main goals, with job creation remaining subpar in Brazil for years. But union leaders and left-wing parties claim the weakening of unions has further contributed to the flattening of wages and increasingly precarious working conditions.