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AFL-CIO Now

Showing blog posts by Charlie Fanning

Stand #WithRefugees Ahead of Global Summit

AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre, who came to this country as a child refugee, has a message for world leaders: “It’s time to step up.” This Sept. 19 at the United Nations, governments will meet in a global summit to develop a plan for addressing large movements of refugees and migrants. It is essential that they make commitments to open up opportunities, rather than close borders, and work together to protect the human and labor rights of families on the move.

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Trade or Human Rights? Integrity of State Department Trafficking Report Still an Open Question

Trade or Human Rights? Integrity of State Department Trafficking Report Still an Open Question

The State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons report is a powerful tool to hold governments accountable for their failures to prevent human trafficking. The report ranks governments worldwide into one of three tiers based on their efforts to combat and prevent trafficking and forced labor, with the lowest ranking of tier three carrying economic sanctions. The release of the 2016 report has been met with mixed reviews from labor and anti-trafficking groups.

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In the Wake of Deadly Clashes, AFL-CIO Stands with Mexican Teachers Union

At least eight protesters were killed and 53 injured earlier this week in clashes with police in Oaxaca, Mexico, during demonstrations against neoliberal education reforms. The teachers union in Oaxaca has been leading protests this summer against the federal government’s move to impose a national education plan that blankets over indigenous concerns in Oaxaca and imposes teacher evaluations that disadvantage schools in the poor region, as well as attacks against the union, including the controversial arrests of union leaders, mass firings of protesting teachers and the freezing of union bank accounts.

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AFL-CIO Joins International Mission Demanding Accountability and Human Rights Protections in Honduras

On March 3, human rights activists denounced the assassination of Berta Cáceres, a leader for indigenous rights and environmental justice with the Council of Indigenous and Popular Organizations of Honduras. The Ides of March in Honduras demonstrated once again that the shocking level of violence against activists since the 2009 coup—with some 200 murdered—has reached crisis proportions.

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Labor Law Reforms in Qatar Fall Short; Migrant Workers Still Vulnerable to Forced Labor

Photo courtesy Juanedc on Flickr

After over a year of anticipation, the government of Qatar last week unveiled its highly touted labor law reforms. While labor rights activists had hoped the reforms might begin to address the widespread abuse of migrant workers and the prevalence of forced labor in Qatar’s massive infrastructure projects, not surprisingly, they fell far short of bringing the labor code in line with international norms. As Qatar is set to host the 2022 World Cup, and 700,000 more migrant workers have been recruited to develop the country at breakneck speed, the lives of thousands of workers could be on the line.

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5 Things You Should Know About the Labor Movement in Swaziland

This week, the AFL-CIO will award the annual George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award to the Trade Union Confederation of Swaziland (TUCOSWA). Created in 1980 and named for the first two presidents of the AFL-CIO, the award recognizes outstanding examples of the international struggle for human rights through trade unions. We don’t blame you for not knowing much about current events in Swaziland—it is one of the smallest countries in Africa, landlocked between South Africa and Mozambique—but you really should take a moment to learn about how Swazi unions are leading a heroic struggle for democracy in their country against incredible odds.

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With Malaysia Upgrade, Administration Puts TPP Agenda Ahead of Trafficking Victims and Workers' Rights

A migrant worker in Malaysia. Photo Credit: Malaysia Trades Union Congress.

Today, the Obama administration made the disastrous decision to upgrade Malaysia—a major player in the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement—on its annual Trafficking in Persons report. This clearly political decision undermines the credibility of important anti-trafficking efforts and underscores the fact that the Obama administration is willing to pursue its anti-worker trade agenda at all costs. It is also yet another sign that the TPP will only continue a global race to the bottom in wages and working conditions. 

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'Ethnic Cleansing' in the Western Hemisphere: The Impending Deportation Crisis in the Dominican Republic

The deadline has now passed for hundreds of thousands of workers and families in the Dominican Republic to register with the government and they now face the threat of becoming stateless and being deported. There is a long legacy of discrimination against Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic. However, since a September 2013 Supreme Court ruling that revoked the citizenship of those born in the country since 1929 who could not prove their parents’ migration status, they have been facing increasing levels of violence and discrimination and reports indicate that law enforcement authorities have been “cleansing” neighborhoods of so-called undesirable elements—mainly by detaining Dominicans with Haitian features. Now, these workers and families could be deported to the Haitian border, though many may not have any ties to Haiti, speak little or no Creole, and lack eligibility for Haitian citizenship.

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Immigrant Workers Take Their Case to Human Rights Commission

Photo courtesy Jessica Lucia on Flickr

After nearly nine years of waiting, two immigrant workers who suffered serious workplace injuries were able to bring their cases to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)—an international body that promotes and protects human rights in the Americas. However, because of dysfunctional U.S. immigration policies the workers could not be in the room. In fact, both of them faced deportation threats after seeking workers’ compensation after their accidents. Now they are challenging the U.S. government's failure to protect their rights from their homes in Mexico, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Employment Law Project and the University of Pennsylvania's Transnational Legal Clinic.

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Uber–U.N. Partnership Won’t Drive Women to Workplace Equality

This week, as thousands of women gathered at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women to assess the progress of women’s rights 20 years after the historic Beijing Women’s Conference, participants were shocked to learn of a major plan to expand the low-wage Uber model around the world and create even more precarious work for women workers. 

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