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Worker & Human Rights
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Respect for the clearly enshrined international legal rights afforded to all workers is at the foundation of democratic, economic, and social development. Solidarity Center programs promote the use of international human rights treaty instruments in support of worker rights.

Nigeria workers rally for a living wage. Photo: Nkechi Odinukwe

In an economic environment that prioritizes growth, ensuring human and worker rights is a major challenge. Strong trade unions must work to ensure that workers are able to exercise their full spectrum of rights, including International Labor Organization (ILO) Core Labor Standards. Trade unions have the unique ability to raise awareness of worker rights in the workplace, and to represent their workers by advocating for their rights at the national policy level.

Rule of law is the principle that a government exercises its authority in accordance with clear, objective, publicly disclosed laws, adopted and enforced through established procedures and enshrined in internationally recognized standards. It is the foundation of a democratic society—the means by which people protect their liberty in a society of equals and the means by which workers protect their rights. All workers deserve decent jobs, where they are treated with respect and dignity and paid a living wage. Workers around the world are standing up for their rights and forming unions to make life better for themselves and their families. The Solidarity Center serves as a worldwide advocate for union activists, defending worker rights, administering training programs for organizing, sharing information with unionists, and providing support for struggling unions. 


Briefing: Decent Work for Adults Can Reduce Child Labor. April 9, 2014—Reducing and eliminating child labor requires a focus on decent work for adults, said Solidarity Center Executive Director Shawna Bader-Blau, speaking yesterday on Capitol Hill.

Bringing a Global Perspective to U.S. Labor Education Conference. March 27, 2013—Solidarity Center staff are leading workshops or presenting panels with a global focus at the 2014 conference of the US-based United Association for Labor Education (UALE), this week in Los Angeles.

Report: Freedom of Association Restrictions a Top Violation in 2013. February 28, 2014—Government restrictions and repression of citizens’ universal right to freedoms of assembly and association topped the list of violations in the State Department’s 2014 annual “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.”

Report: 202 Million People Out of Work in 2013. January 22, 2014—Nearly 202 million people were unemployed in 2013 around the world, some 5 million more than in 2012, because the number of jobs is not keeping pace with the growing workforce.

Global Solidarity Highlights from AFL-CIO Convention. September 10, 2013—Trade unionists from dozens of countries are taking part in the quadrennial AFL-CIO Convention in Los Angeles this week—and the Los Angeles Times has video highlights of two international union leaders.

Catalysts for Change: Workers Forging Democracy with Innovation. June 10, 2013—As part of a new, ongoing series, the Solidarity Center takes a close look at five examples where working people, their unions and civil society activists are advancing worker rights and greater equity in their societies, often under trying circumstances.

30 Million Jobs Needed Globally to Return to Pre-Recession Norm. June 3, 2013—Emerging nations—where, on average, employment is rising, income inequality decreasing and the middle class rapidly expanding—are recovering from the global recession faster than developed countries, according to an International Labor Organization (ILO) report released today.

Report: 73.4 Million Young Workers Jobless in 2013. May 8, 2013—A stunning 73.4 million young workers are estimated to be jobless in 2013, an increase of 3.5 million between 2007 and 2013, according to an International Labor Organization (ILO) report out today. 

ILO Report: 197 Million People Jobless in 2012, More Job Loss in 2013. January 22, 2013—Some 197 million people were jobless worldwide in 2012, and an additional 39 million workers have dropped out of the labor market, unable to find employment, according to a new report by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

World Bank Report: Worker Rights Key to Addressing Global Jobs Crisis. January 2, 2013—The World Bank’s recently released “2013 World Development Report on Jobs” offers policymakers a new framework for looking at jobs and outlines why jobs that most benefit development can spur a virtuous cycle.

Human Rights Day 2012: Marking Worker Rights Worldwide. December 10, 2012—Nearly 3,000 trade union leaders have been murdered in Colombia over the past 20 years and the killing continues, with at least 15 unionists murdered so far this year.

Global Union Federations Unite for Worker Power. June 25, 2012—In a historic step for global labor solidarity, three global union federations came together this week to form IndustriALL Global Union, uniting 50 million workers across the supply chain.

Clinton Addresses Worker Rights, Calls for Justice in Aminul Islam Murder at Dhaka Town Meeting. May 10, 2012—During a  meeting this week with young Bangladeshi leaders at the International School in Dhaka, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton drew applause in fielding a question about repression of worker rights and the murder of union activist Aminul Islam.

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