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A Global Supply Chain Still Built on Worker Misery: The Garment Industry in Bangladesh

A Global Supply Chain Still Built on Worker Misery: The Garment Industry in Bangladesh

Nearly five years after the torture and assassination of Bangladeshi labor leader Aminul Islam, the country's garment-sector employers and the government continue to persecute workers who try to exercise basic rights. In the three weeks since a December strike to protest the paltry $68 per month minimum wage, garment employers and the government have again shown their hostility toward workers and their rights. At that wage, workers in Dhaka would need to spend 60% of their income solely to rent substandard housing in a slum, leaving little to live on in a city about as expensive as Montreal (where the minimum wage is more than ten times higher).

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New Report Details Systematic Labor Rights Violations in Colombia

New Report Details Systematic Labor Rights Violations in Colombia

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor released a report in response to the complaint filed by U.S. and Colombian unions detailing systematic labor rights violations in Colombia. The U.S. government acknowledged many of the serious issues raised in the complaint, including inadequate labor inspections and enforcement actions, abusive forms of subcontracting that prevent union organizing and keep the majority of Colombian workers in precarious jobs, and impunity for threats and violence against trade unionists, which creates a climate of fear.

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ITUC Youth Forum Sets Agenda for Young Workers’ Movement

ITUC Youth Forum Sets Agenda for Young Workers’ Movement

Across the world, young people face tremendous challenges that have left many wondering whether they will be worse off than previous generations. High youth unemployment and underemployment, budget cuts and deteriorating public services, and right-wing parties taking power in many parts of the world make it more critical than ever that young workers build power across borders.

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Why We Are Honoring Maina Kiai: Defending the Freedom of Association Is Central to Upholding Human Rights

Why We Are Honoring Maina Kiai: Defending the Freedom of Association Is Central to Upholding Human Rights

On the occasion of International Human Rights Day—at a time when human, labor and civil rights are under attack in the United States and globally—it is critical that workers are empowered to speak up and act out for justice. Human rights at work only can be defended when the fundamental right to freedom of association is respected and workers can organize for change.
 
That’s why, next week, the AFL-CIO will present the annual 2016 George Meany–Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award to Maina Kiai, the U.N. special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.

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U.N. Special Report: U.S. Workers Restricted in Exercising Basic Union Rights

U.N. Special Report: U.S. Workers Restricted in Exercising Basic Union Rights

A new report finds that the United States fails to uphold the most basic rights of workers, particularly in the South, where some states "support or collude with employers to infringe upon workers’ rights to peaceful assembly and association." The report cited examples such as Tennessee officials’ opposition to unionization at a Volkswagen plant and the "government of Mississippi [which] touts the lack of unionization as a great benefit when courting potential employers."

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AFL-CIO Supports Suspension of All U.S. Funding for Honduran Security Forces

Photo courtesy SOA Watch on Flickr

The AFL-CIO supports the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, which would suspend all funding to Honduran security forces. These forces have engaged in well-documented cases of excessive use of deadly force, abuse of power and entrenched corruption. Just this week, another indigenous activist, Yaneth Urquia Urquia, was kidnapped and murdered. The AFL-CIO calls for a suspension of funding from the U.S. Congress and loans from multilateral development banks until abuses by security forces stop and those responsible are prosecuted.

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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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Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of labor—fast food CEO Andrew Puzder—would be a disaster for working Americans. Tell your members of Congress to oppose him.

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