The German Case of Competitiveness with High Wages


January 22, 2014, 12:00 AM EST
Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, DC
Michael Sommer (German Trade Union Federation and the International Trade Union Confederation)

Event Summary

Michael Sommer, head of the German Trade Union Federation (DGB) and of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), discussed labor and business cooperation in Germany and what to expect from Germany's new minimum wage. The event, held January 22, 2014, was cohosted by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the German Embassy, and the AFL-CIO.

Sommer has been president of the German Trade Union Federation since May 2002. He was previously deputy president of the organization from March 2001 to May 2002. In 2006, he was elected vice president of the newly founded International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and then elected president four years later. In addition to his work with DGB and ITUC, Sommer has been deputy national chairman of the United Services Union in Germany (ver.di) since its founding in 2001. Since October 1993 Sommer has been a member of the German Postal Workers' Union (DPG)'s steering committee and was elected deputy president of the DPG four years later. Sommer studied political science at Berlin Free University.

Event Materials

Policy Brief 14-1: Labor Market Reforms Work for Everyone: Lessons from Germany [pdf]
Jacob Funk Kirkegaard
January 2014