Labor Migration

labor migration, Solidarity Center, worker rights

The Solidarity Center strives for rights for people on the move by ensuring migrant workers are fully able to exercise their workplace, social, economic and democratic rights. Solidarity Center/Jeanne Hallacy

Labor migration feeds the global economy. Hundreds of millions of migrant workers worldwide generate billions of dollars in global remittances. They are domestic workers, construction and agricultural workers, factory and service workers, teachers and professionals. Migrant workers often travel long distances due to a lack of decent work at home to support their families and build a better life. They frequently are denied the most basic human rights. For instance, most destination countries deny migrant workers the right to form unions, and explicitly exclude them from labor law protections, and women migrant workers are often subject to gender-based violence and harassment in their workplaces.

The Solidarity Center strives for worker rights for people on the move by ensuring migrant worker rights are a key part of the labor movement. We cultivate an understanding of how exploitative labor migration management schemes are a widespread means by which to undercut worker wages, create precarious work and pit workers against each other. And, in addressing these structural ills, we emphasize a response that understands the intersectionalities and identities that make migrant workers especially vulnerable. Our goal is to ensure that migrant workers are fully able to exercise their workplace rights, as well as their social, economic and democratic rights.

We also focus on the creation of decent work in home countries so workers can migrate by choice and not due to economic coercion. We recognize that migration is not caused by a single factor that “pushes” workers to migrate. In doing so, we bring our unique worker rights voice more broadly by emphasizing that everyone deserves dignity at work regardless of status—climate migrants, economic migrants and conflict refugees. We work to achieve this through programs that focus on union organizing and collective bargaining, policy advocacy, access to justice, safe migration and, more broadly, the ability to exercise fundamental freedoms as democratic participants.

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migration, migrant workers, Freedoms on the Move report, Solidarity Center,, CIVICUS

Freedoms on the Move, a 2019 report by Solidarity Center and CIVICUS, is an urgent call to action for unions and other civil society groups to include migrant workers and refugees in advancing civic rights.


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