Publications

Workers in Post-Civil War Jaffna

Jaffna working conditions, Sri Lanka, Solidarity CenterAlthough Sri Lanka’s labor code sets the minimum wage, the maximum number of work hours per day and work days per week, and establishes rules around overtime and benefits, many employers in Jaffna, the country’s northern province, are flaunting the statutes. The vast majority of workers are unaware of their rights regarding pay, benefits and a written contract.

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Zimbabwe wage theft, Solidarity Center

Working Without Pay: Wage Theft in Zimbabwe

Wage theft is widespread throughout the the public- and private-sectors, with Zimbabweans working months without a paycheck. Based on surveys at 442 companies, the report documents the vast scope of wage theft; outlines the responsibilities of the state under international standards and national legislation; documents extravagant salaries and benefits to middle and top management even as workers go unpaid; and presents recommendations for action to address the problem.

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Transforming Women’s Work: Policies for an Inclusive Economic Agenda

Convening experts from the AFL-CIO, the Rutgers University Center for Women’s Global Leadership and the Solidarity Center, this report examines how to shift governments’ policy priorities, create an enabling environment for social organizing and transform women’s interaction with labor markets within a rights-based model of development.

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Solidarity Center, gender equality, South Africa, unions, labor

Putting Union Gender Equality Policy into Practice in South Africa

Unions are key drivers advancing gender equality. Yet in many countries around the world, there is a disconnect between labor union policy and practice in transforming gender inequalities within trade unions. Through the lens of the South African union movement, this report explores the disconnect and examines new strategies for closing the gap between policy and practice.

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Irreconciliable Differences? Pursuing the Capabilities Approach within the Global Governance of Migration (2014)

This report on global labor migration challenges the current “triple win” paradigm in global migration policy through a worker rights lens, and argues that when applying the now-accepted “capabilities” approach, the international development community must focus on the recognition and protection of the rights of migrant workers, their families and their communities.

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ASIA NETWORK: Empowering Workers, Creating Safe Workplaces (2014)

This new Solidarity Center report looks at how the Asian Network for the Rights of Occupational and Environmental Victims (ANROEV) and its member organizations are empowering workers across Asia through a regionwide coalition to assist workers exposed to dangerous and unhealthy workplaces.

English (PDF)
Spanish (PDF)
Sources

NIGERIA: Empowering Women, Transforming Society (2014)

A unique grassroots coalition based in the Niger Delta, working with unions and other local non-governmental organizations, is providing a platform for women and young people to effectively engage in the democratic political process, hold local lawmakers accountable and achieve concrete goals in their communities.

English (PDF)
Spanish (PDF)
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Discrimination and Denationalization in the Dominican Republic

A September 2013 Dominican court ruling taking away citizenship from many migrants means they will be excluded from any activity that requires official identification, including working in the formal sector, attending school, opening a bank account, accessing health services, getting married, traveling or voting.

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migration, Solidarity Center, South Africa

Restriction and Solidarity in the New South Africa

This report look at South African labor’s complicated engagement with migrant workers by examining the migration policy debate, labor’s response to the xenophobic attacks of 2008 and two organizing campaign in the agricultural sector. It sheds light on how labor migration and hostility toward immigrants are intertwined with the state’s embrace of neo-liberal economic policy and with growing labor precariousness.

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Domestic Workers and Socioeconomic Rights: A South African Case Study (2013)

This report explores the challenges of empowering domestic workers in South Africa through the traditional trade union focus on worker rights, democratic voice and collective action. This Solidarity Center report is part of a multiyear research project, funded by the U.S.  Agency for International Development, to study the informal economy, migration, gender and rule of law together with research partners Rutgers and WIEGO.

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Bringing Back the Heart: The Gender at Work Action Learning Process with Four South African Unions (2013)

Four South African unions took part in a unique process with the South Africa Gender Action Learning Program and Labour Research Service to challenge male–dominated, hierarchical cultures. This report describes the step-by-step journey that led to more women joining unions and taking on leadership positions—and ultimately becoming inspired to carry on the hard work of ensuring gender equality remains an integral part of their unions.

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Informal Workers’ Organizing (WIEGO, 2013)

In overviewing self-organizing among such informal economy workers as waste pickers, domestic workers and construction workers, this report finds the lines are increasingly blurred between jobs in the formal and informal economies. This Solidarity Center report is part of a multiyear research project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, to study the informal economy, migration, gender and rule of law together with research partners Rutgers and WIEGO.

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Trade Unions Organizing Workers “Informalized from Above”: Case Studies from Cambodia, Colombia, South Africa and Tunisia (Rutgers, 2013)

Four case studies examine successful union organizing among workers whose jobs have been privatized, outsourced or contracted out. This Solidarity Center report is part of a multiyear research project, funded by the U.S. Agency forInternational Development, to study the informal economy, migration, gender and rule of law together with research partners Rutgers and WIEGO.

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SRI LANKA: Migrants Gain Voice and Protections (2013)

The Migrant Services Center, a Solidarity Center partner, is assisting migrant workers and their families in Sri Lanka while championing structural change through legislative and governmental processes, and offers a model for other labor and worker rights organizations.

English (PDF)
Arabic (PDF)
French (PDF)
Spanish (PDF)
Sources

Emergent Solidarities: Labor Movement Responses to Migrant Workers in the Dominican Republic and Jordan (Rutgers, 2013)

This report explores examples of unions making significant change in their approaches to migrant worker organizing and how the Solidarity Center has played a role in shifting union thinking about migrant workers and supporting union engagement and activities. Part one of a two-part report. This Solidarity Center report is part of a multiyear research project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, to study the informal economy, migration, gender and rule of law together with research partners Rutgers and WIEGO.

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Trade Union Organizing in the Informal Economy: A Review of the Literature on Organizing in Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America and Western, Central and Eastern Europe (Rutgers, 2013)

This report reviews the literature of efforts throughout the globe by workers who labor outside the formal labor economy of their countries to form or join trade unions as well as unions’ efforts to organize and represent them. This Solidarity Center report is part of a multiyear research project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, to study the informal economy, migration, gender and rule of law together with research partners Rutgers and WIEGO.

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CAMBODIA: Vocal Coalition Makes Legal History (2013)

Cambodia’s nascent independent labor movement and human rights organizations worked to revise a labor law proposed in 2011 that would have significantly rolled back worker rights—and a Solidarity Center report describes how they did it.

English (PDF)
Arabic (PDF)
French (PDF)
Spanish (PDF)
Sources

TUNISIAN WOMEN: Sustaining the Fight for Equal Rights (2013)

In 2011, Tunisian women helped spur protests and end autocratic regimes in Tunisia and throughout the Arabic-speaking world. Today, a Solidarity Center report finds Tunisian women remain in the forefront of ensuring democratic change in their country during the difficult years of government transition.

English (PDF)
Arabic (PDF)
French (PDF)
Spanish (PDF)
Sources

Solidarity Center Haiti Earthquake Relief Fund: Workers Helping Workers Recover and Rebuild. Final Report, January 2010-March 2013

Following the devastating January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti, the Solidarity Center established a relief fund to route donations from U.S. unions and workers to Haitian workers and their families in need. The final report on these efforts, released on the third anniversary of the earthquake, describes how the Solidarity Center and its partners have made a significant impact in the lives of Haitian workers and their families.

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The Plight of Shrimp-Processing Workers of Southwestern Bangladesh (2012)

Bangladesh’s labor code addresses pay, working hours, and on-the-job conditions. However, in the shrimp-processing industry, the code is not being adequately enforced. Bangladeshi shrimp-processing workers—the majority of whom are women—still face inadequate health and safety protections at work and receive less than the minimum wage, among other violations of their rights.

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Gender Equality and Labor Movements: Toward a Global Perspective (Rutgers, 2012)

A critical review of the English-language research on gender equality and labor movements highlighting “best practice” case studies around the world most relevant to those engaged in building democratic and humane societies. This Solidarity Center report is part of a multiyear research project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, to study the informal economy, migration, gender and rule of law together with research partners Rutgers and WIEGO.

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Home-based Workers in the Export Garment Sector in Bangladesh: An Exploratory Study in Dhaka City (Wiego, 2012)

Workers in the home-based export garment sector remain an invisible segment of the labor market, and this report is first step toward a systematic documentation of this phenomenon, with special emphasis on employment conditions, worker livelihoods and issues affecting unionization. This Solidarity Center report is part of a multiyear research project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, to study the informal economy, migration, gender and rule of law together with research partners Rutgers and WIEGO.

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Legal and Policy Tools to Meet Informal Workers’ Demands: Lessons from India (WIEGO, 2012)

This report highlights key lessons from a WIEGO pilot project in India examining the nature of the informal economy and the way legal and policy tools can address the concerns of those working in the informal economy. This Solidarity Center report is part of a multiyear research project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, to study the informal economy, migration, gender and rule of law together with research partners Rutgers and WIEGO.

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The Struggle for Worker Rights in Egypt (2010)

The situation for workers in Egypt in 2010 sadly bears all too much similarity to that conflict between Egyptian workers and their government so many centuries ago. Today’s Egyptian government maintains an iron grip on power, harshly punishes dissent and plays a central role in a system that keeps workers powerless and poor.

English

Arabic

 

Out of Sight, Out of Mind (2009)

This 2009 Solidarity Center study focuses on migrant men who have worked on Thai fishing boats out of the port of Mahachai in Samut Sakhon province, examining recruitment practices, working conditions and payment practices to assess the patterns and prevalence of human trafficking on commercial fishing boats.

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The True Cost of Shrimp (2008)

In little more than 30 years, the shrimp industry has been revolutionized through an unprecedented increase in efficient production, resulting in tremendous profitability for producers. But the “shrimp boom” is sustained through a staggering, largely hidden, cost to workers, their families and the environment.

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The Struggle for Worker Rights in Guatemala (2008)

Guatemala’s laws include unreasonable restrictions and requirements on union membership and the right to strike. Women workers are usually paid less than their male counterparts for work of equal value. Indigenous workers and rural workers, with few legal rights, are particular targets of discrimination. Guatemala’s migrant workers—both internal migrants and workers who migrate to work in other countries—suffer some of the worst abuses. Despite these discouraging conditions, Guatemalan workers and their unions are determined to establish justice at the workplace and in their country.

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Justice for All (2008)

“Justice for All” examines the effects of global economic integration in the late 20th century on worker rights, including the growth of the informal economy and migration and human labor trafficking, and looks at how government, corporations and unions can help resolve the global crisis in jobs and working conditions.

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forced labor, human trafficking, Solidarity Center

Trafficking in Persons from a Labor Perspective: The Kenyan Experience (2007)

Trafficking in Persons from a Labor Perspective: The Kenyan Experience provides readers with a general overview of human trafficking in persons from a labor perspective, with a focus on universal and global themes as illustrated by the experiences in Kenya. The country is a source, transit and destination for women, men and children trafficked for forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation.

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Solidarity Center Gender Programming Manual (2006)

This 70-page handbook incorporates staff insights and experiences into checklists and tools needed to develop programs that redress gender inequity in the workplace, promote leadership roles for women, and move closer to achieving full worker rights.

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The Struggle for Worker Rights in Swaziland (2006)

Swazi workers face many challenges, especially women workers, who have a low status in Swazi society and make up a large percentage of the workforce, yet endure discrimination and workplace sexual harassment and violence. Improvements at the workplace cannot be secured until, as the report notes, the Swazi government engages in full democratic reform that allows Swaziland’s people to govern themselves and to exercise their rights to make economic, political and social decisions that affect their lives.

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The Struggle for Worker Rights in Colombia (2006)

Colombian trade unionists face daily threats of violence and assassination, attempts by employers, paramilitaries, guerrillas and the state to stop dissent, silence workers and destroy the only mechanism that gives workers some control over their economic lives: their union. Yet the Colombian labor movement has faced all these challenges by building a broad leadership base with deep rank-and-file roots.

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The Struggle for Worker Rights in Jordan (2005)

“The Struggle for Worker Rights in Jordan” lays out steps the Jordanian government, Jordanian unions, multinational enterprises and actors on the international stage can take to ensure respect for and enforcement of worker rights in Jordan. By following this path, Jordan can give working people a chance to share in the prosperity they are helping to create.

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The Struggle for Worker Rights in China (2004)

“The Struggle for Worker Rights in China” holds China’s labor law and practice up to international standards enshrined in International Labor Organization conventions and the ILO’s 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

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The Struggle for Worker Rights in Mexico (2003)

The first report in the Solidarity Center’s “Justice for All” series, takes a hard look at Mexico’s century-long fight for independent, democratic trade unions and social justice. Author Lance Compa puts Mexico’s labor law and practice to the test against international worker rights standards reflected in International Labor Organization
conventions and the ILO’s 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

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