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Global Labor Movement

sugar cane cutters in Colombia

Colombia's sugar cane cutters work long hours for low pay under precarious conditions.

Working people around the world are united by the dignity of work. They are also facing many of the same issues.  They’re struggling with massive levels of unemployment and an unrelenting global push to lower wages and living standards.

By joining together in a global network, workers have built the strength to advance workers’ rights and improve their ability to organize and collectively bargain in the global economy. In partnering with working people around the world, the AFL-CIO addresses labor law reform, files international claims for failure to respect labor provisions of trade and preference agreements and negotiates stronger labor language in trade agreements.

Currently, we are working to improve the labor laws in Colombia, Panama, Vietnam, Malaysia, Georgia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. We recently filed a complaint against Guatemala under the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and may file similar cases against Honduras, Costa Rica and Peru. We also are coordinating a global trade union coalition to urge the adoption of stronger labor language in new trade agreements, such as the Trans Pacific Free Trade Agreement.

Read more about our work on the following issues:

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Students Protest at REI in Rockville, Md., Demanding It Stop Stocking North Face Products

Cassandra Waters
Photo courtesy of USAS

On Saturday, 20 activists were arrested during a protest outside Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) in Rockville, Maryland. Students and community leaders came together to demand REI stop stocking The North Face, whose parent company VF Corp. has been linked to serious ongoing labor violations in Bangladesh, including a deadly factory fire in 2010 that claimed at least 20 lives. Despite repeated incidents and issues, VF Corp. has refused to sign the Bangladesh Accord on Fire Safety (the Accord).

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