As the political umbrella organization for its eight member unions, the DGB is represented at all political levels: from local government to European and international bodies. And it is organized on the same principle at all levels: as a “confederation of unions”, representatives of the eight member unions define the policies and decisions of the DGB.
DGB/Simone M. Neumann
At national level, the DGB has a National Executive Board with a chairman, a deputy chairman, and two further board members. The current president of the DGB is Reiner Hoffmann, the deputy president is Elke Hannack. The two other members of the board are Annelie Buntenbach and Stefan Körzell. The DGB National Executive Board represents the interests of the DGB member unions and German workers to the government and other political bodies at national level and on the European and international stage. The chairman and other members of the DGB National Executive Board are elected by the DGB Federal Congress. Comprising around 600 delegates from all eight member unions, the Federal Congress normally convenes once every four years. It is the DGB’s highest decision-making body and is also known as the “workers’ parliament”.
The DGB has nine districts at federal state level, their boundaries corresponding to those of the federal states. DGB districts cover up to three federal states. Two examples: the Bavaria DGB district covers just one federal state and corresponds exactly to the boundaries of the German federal state of Bavaria, whereas the North DGB district encompasses the three federal states of Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg, and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The DGB districts represent the interests of the DGB’s member unions and workers to the federal state governments and other state-level bodies. Because the German federal states have legislative powers in key policy areas such as education and policing, the DGB districts are also involved in important political work.
The chairs of the DGB districts are elected at district conferences comprised, like the DGB Federal Congress, of delegates from all eight member unions from the respective district.
There are 59 DGB regions in Germany. The DGB districts consist of several DGB regions (the Baden-Württemberg DGB district, for example, has four regions; the North Rhine-Westphalia DGB district has 11 regions). Employees in the DGB regions are part of the administration of the DGB districts. The executive directors of the DGB regions are appointed.
The DGB has several hundred local and city associations. The boundaries of these associations correspond to local boundaries (i.e. towns and rural districts). The chairs of the local and town associations are not employed full-time but carry out their work on a voluntary basis. They represent the interests of the DGB member unions and employees to local government.
The DGB is a member of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). It also delegates German trade union representatives to the International Labour Conference held by the International Labour Organization (ILO). DGB Federal Congress member Annelie Buntenbach has also been a member of the ILO Governing Body since 2014.
The DGB unions are members of various European and international trade union associations.
The DGB also maintains close links with European and international organizations such as the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) or the Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the OECD.
The DGB maintains a Brussels liaison office for European Union institutions.