The United States lags far behind other nations in protecting workers’ rights, according to a new survey from the International Trade Union Confederation. The rankings are based on 97 internationally recognized indicators and standards to assess where workers’ rights are best protected, in law and in practice.
Today’s global economy conceals a vicious, virtually invisible underworld of modern-day slavery. More than a century since most of the industrialized world outlawed slavery, more than 21 million workers toil in conditions of forced labor. These workers are generally the poorest among us, with the fewest opportunities. They can be found in fields, mines and factories in distant lands or down the street in a local restaurant or in a neighbor’s home—and their collective work generates a growing illegal profit of more than $150 billion.
This week, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, along with AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler and AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre, is in Berlin for the 2014 International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) World Congress.
Check out this clip of an Equal Times discussion with President Trumka, where he talks about wages, the political environment and workers standing up in the United States.
In his opening remarks to the Organization for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD) Forum panel, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said: "You know, whenever I come to the OECD, it's always interesting to discover which OECD I am talking to—the Monday Forum OECD that is getting serious about income inequality and going social, or the Tuesday OECD of the Economic Outlook—the OECD that makes excuses for continued mass unemployment and stagnant wages that is the reality in the majority of the OECD countries." After the forum, he was asked which OECD he found. See Trumka's response in this video.
Deadly violence against striking garment workers has set off a global response by unions and allies around the world. Over the past several days, unions, labor rights activists and student groups protested at Cambodian embassies and consulates first in Seoul, Berlin and Jakarta and since then in Washington, D.C., London and Hong Kong. During the Jan. 10 protest in Washington, D.C., the AFL-CIO delivered a letter calling on the government to cease violence, investigate the violent events, release detained workers and return to negotiations with workers for a fair wage.
Twenty years ago, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed into law. At the time, advocates painted a rosy picture of booming U.S. exports creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and economic development in Mexico, which would bring the struggling country in line with its wealthier northern neighbors. Two decades later, those promises have failed to materialize. U.S. trade deficits with both Canada and Mexico have surged, crippling domestic industries, prompting massive job displacement and the replacement of living wage union jobs with jobs in sectors with low pay, minimal benefits and no job security.
In recognition of this incredible achievement and the outstanding work this young organization continues to do, the AFL-CIO Executive Council named the International Domestic Workers' Network the recipients of the 2013 George Meany–Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award earlier this year. The award was presented by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka today at the AFL-CIO Convention to a chorus of domestic workers who entered the hall singing, following a moving video of their campaign.
Support California domestic workers by telling Gov. Jerry Brown to pass the California Domestic Worker Bill of Rights. Text DIGNITY to 235246. Standard data and message rates may apply.
For the past 20 years, Martínez, head of communications with the Honduran federation of agro-industrial unions, FESTAGRO, has hosted a daily radio show called "Trade Unionist on Air," which features discussions about labor and human rights, including an opportunity for agricultural workers to call in and ask about abusive workplaces, labor standards and rights violations.