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.
|Download this Solidarity Center poster, featuring the slogan “Worker Rights Are Human Rights” in more than ten languages, including Polish and Creole.
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.
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. As the world’s elite meet in Davos,
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. The Catalysts for Change series highlights workers' experiences and efforts provides concrete, transferable lessons for others seeking to effect positive change.
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. Even worse, the number of unemployed young workers is likely to increase through 2018, with the long-term impact felt for decades, the report forecasts.
Worker Rights under Attack at Global Conference.
June 7, 2012—The 2012 ILO Annual Conference is under way in Geneva, Switzerland, and representatives of employers have blocked discussion of some of the worst cases of worker rights violations. The conference usually brings up the most serious cases from the annual report of the ILO’s Committee of Experts, a 17-member committee of eminent international jurists and legal scholars. But this year, the Employers Group has used procedural maneuvers to block discussion of any cases.
Clinton Addresses Worker Rights, Calls for Justice in Aminul Islam Murder at Dhaka Town Meeting.
May 10, 2012—During a “Townterview” this week with young Bangladeshi leaders at the International School in Dhaka, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton drew applause in fielding a question about repression of worker rights and the murder of union activist Aminul Islam, a longtime friend and colleague of the Solidarity Center.
May Day Greetings from Partners around the World.
May 1, 2012—Today is International Labor Day, when workers worldwide commemorate their long struggle to promote respect for worker rights and dignity. The AFL-CIO, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), and the Solidarity Center celebrated working women across the globe and their efforts to find a voice, stand up, and demand a stop to exploitation and unequal working conditions. View video greetings below from Solidarity Center partners.
Unions Launch Global Inquiry into Attacks on Worker Rights.
May 1, 2012—The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is holding the world’s first global inquiry for workers as wages, pensions, social security rights to union representation, and collective bargaining come under new attack.
Celebrating Worker and Human Rights.
December 9, 2011—Solidarity Center Executive Director Shawna Bader-Blau participates in an online discussion about worker rights and democracy, hosted by the Department of State to commemorate International Human Rights Day. View the video
World Day for Decent Work.
October 7, 2011—For the fourth year in a row, unions and worker rights organizations across the world are mobilizing in favor of decent work. While actions in different countries cover a wide variety of issues, the primary focus this year is on tackling precarious work and promoting global regulation of the finance sector, reports the International Trade Union Confederation.
On International Human Rights Day, Unionists Remain Under Threat.
Fundamental human rights are under attack in every region of the world, reports the International Trade Union Confederation. Respect for worker rights is being undermined as working people are increasingly forced to bear the burden of the global economic crisis. The union movement, with its enduring commitment to democracy, solidarity, equity, and the full expression of human rights, stands at the forefront of the fight against discrimination, repression, and exploitation.
On Free Association, Business and Labor Agree.
It is essential that workers and businesses have the right to organize freely to pursue their own interests in the marketplace and in the halls of government, say Greg Lebedev and John Sweeney. Lebedev is chairman of the Center for International Private Enterprise, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Sweeney is chairman of the Solidarity Center Board of Trustees. Read their op-ed in the September 17, 2010, Wall Street Journal
In Key Address, Hillary Clinton Says Unions Are “Essential” to Democracy. “Without the work of civic activists and pluralistic political discourse, governments grow brittle and may even topple,” said the Secretary of State at the tenth anniversary meeting of the Community of Democracies in Krakow, Poland. “And without consumer advocates, unions, and social organizations that look out for the needs of societies' weakest members, markets can run wild and fail to generate broad-based prosperity.” On May 1, International Labor Day, the International Trade Union Confederation calls on governments to meet their obligations to govern in the interests of the people, put finance at the service of the real economy, create decent, sustainable jobs for all, and ensure that all employers respect the rights of working people. The ITUC represents 176 million workers in 155 countries and territories and has 312 national affiliates, including the AFL-CIO.
Global Worker Rights Situation Getting Worse, Says ITUC. Although more than 80 percent of the 182 countries that belong to the International Labor Organization have ratified ILO conventions that protect workers’ right to form and join unions, hundreds of millions of workers worldwide are denied these rights, and many are killed for attempting to exercise them, says a new report by the International Trade Union Confederation.
Legal Clinic for Burmese Migrant Workers. Hundreds of thousands of Burmese migrant workers in Thai factories along the Thailand-Burma border are underpaid, overworked, attacked, and murdered. The Solidarity Center and the Thai bar association have opened a legal clinic to help protect these workers’ rights.
Solidarity Center Publications