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U.S.-China Trade Deficit Is One More Reason We Need Trade Policies that Lift Up Working People

In case you missed it at the end of June (and who can blame you, really?) trade numbers between the United States and China were recently released for the month of April 2014, providing us with another month’s worth of reasons for why U.S. trade policy needs to change.

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'Don’t Sleep with the Sultan,' Urge Workers, Women and the LGBTQ Community

'Don’t Sleep with the Sultan,' Urge Workers, Women and the LGBTQ Community

Today, workers, women, and activists from the LGBTQ community protested outside the Embassy of Brunei in Washington, D.C., as part of an international day of action against the sultan of Brunei’s ongoing union-busting and human rights violations. Brunei is a tiny, oil-rich country in Southeast Asia, ruled by Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, who has used his role as absolute monarch to amass an estimated wealth of $20 billion and maintain strict control over society. Under the banner of “Don’t Sleep with the Sultan,” UNITE HERE Local 25 led a broad array of workers and activists in the demonstration, which drew attention to labor and human rights violations in both the United States and Brunei.

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What Do You Think About Trade? The WTO Wants to Hear from You

Image courtesy of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is conducting a “public forum”—a short poll with leading questions about what people think about trade and how it affects their lives.

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U.S. Trade Deals Limit Choices in Government Purchasing

Government purchasing, which is anything the government might buy from computers, iron, pipes and furniture to services like construction and janitorial contracts, should be used as a tool to promote job creation, wage growth and a cleaner environment for working people.  This is especially important given the threat of climate change and the staggering inequality in the U.S. economy.  But because today’s trade deals (from the World Trade Organization [WTO] to various Free Trade Agreements [FTAs]) restrict government choices about how to purchase goods and services, the opportunities to use government purchasing (also known as procurement) in this way are limited. 

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The International Labour Organization Adopts New Standards to Eradicate Forced Labor

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has adopted a new treaty, known as a forced labor protocol, to fight modern forms of forced labor and to protect and compensate victims.  The new treaty strengthens the outdated 1930 ILO convention on forced labor, and contains two sections that will bring the international community’s response to forced labor into the modern era with regulations and guidance on practices such as human trafficking, forced labor in the private sector and the exploitation of migrant workers.   

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On the Eve of the World Cup, Workers Defend the Right to Strike and Bargain Collectively

Wikimedia Creative Commons/Brazil

As Brazil prepares to take the global stage as host of the World Cup, media attention has focused on the last-minute preparations and the expenditures accompanying the event. Amid the focus on sports, São Paulo’s subway workers delivered an important message about the need for increasing wages as a cornerstone of the country’s commitment to social equality.

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U.S. Rated Alarmingly High in Global Survey of Worst Places for Workers’ Rights

U.S. Rated Alarmingly High in Global Survey of Worst Places for Workers’ Rights

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.

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21 Million Workers Toil in Conditions of Forced Labor—Call on Governments to Take Action

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.

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Trumka Talks Wages and Inequality in the U.S. at the International Trade Union Confederation World Congress

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.

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ICYMI: Trumka on Inequality and the Organization for Economic Co‑operation and Development

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. 

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