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Home > Our Programs > Worker & Human Rights > The Role of Unions in Eliminating Child Labor
The Role of Unions in Eliminating Child Labor
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Unions play a key role in eliminating child labor.
 
• The economic benefits of trade unions in the workplace often enable adult workers to support their families without sending their children to work. Further, a union presence generally prevents employers from employing children. Unions also can improve livelihoods through collective bargaining agreements. These agreements can call for skills-training programs, including apprenticeships, at workplaces. Such programs provide opportunities for young workers to enter the workforce by learning productive work skills and help break the poverty cycle that perpetuates child labor.

• Unions also have the ability to bargain for benefits (such as access to schools or daycare facilities), as well as to advocate effectively for national and local policies that address the root causes of child labor and aid in enforcement.

In the informal economy, unions and informal economy associations can advocate to:

• Reduce informal work by placing it within the framework of a country’s overall labor laws and policies.

• Prevent work currently in the formal sector from being informalized.

• Ensure that the minimum wage and other labor laws and regulations that apply to the formal economy apply to informal economy.

• Enable formal sector trade unions to organize and represent the needs of workers, regardless of their formal or informal employment status.

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