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Dissent: Belabored Podcast #59: Labor Rights as Civil Rights, with Moshe Marvit   |   The Stand: Moral Week of Action Aug. 22-28 in Olympia   |   Think Progress: Low-Paid Jobs Now Pay Even Worse Than Before The Recovery Began   |   AFSCME: LA Unions Try Innovative Community Approach   |   UFCW Member Elected Co-Chair of AFL-CIO Young Workers Advisory Council   |   In These Times: The New Volkswagen Model: Minority Unionism   |   Alberta Federation of Labour: Tenth Annual Farm Workers Day Marks Track Record of Government Indifference   |   Labor Press: Fired Journalists Want Their Jobs Back at El Diario   |   AFL-CIO: San Francisco Taxi Workers Vote to Unionize   |   Working in These Times: Radio Silence Is Union Strategy at Baltimore Public Broadcasting Station   |   The Nation: How Starbucks's 'Flexible' Scheduling Is Stretching Workers to the Breaking Point

RadioLabour DailyRadio Labour:  International Labour Movement's Radio Service, Bringing Labour's Voices to the World


AFL-CIO Now Blog

LabourStart Solidarity Campaigns



World Day For Decent Work

Fast Food Global...Low Pay is Not OK
Re-Run the Vote: No World Cup Without Workers Rights...
International Trade Union Confederation
Decent Work...
three minute web movie overview of the concept of decent work in 29 languages...International Labor Organization
Making Change at Walmart...
United Food and Commercial Workers
Real Food. Real Jobs....UNITE HERE
Robin Hood Tax Campaign...
it's not a tax on the people, it's a tax for the people...United States
Fix My Job...Working America AFL-CIO
Warehouse Workers United...
Change to Win Coalition
T-Mobile Workers United...
Communications Workers of America

AFL-CIO

Union Yes

ILO Labor Standards

The International Labor Organization (ILO) labor standards take the form of International Labor Conventions which are ratified by member countries. Of the total number of ILO Conventions, eight are considered core labor standards, fundamental to the rights of workers. The ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations.
The Union Edge
Workers Independent News

Amnesty International

American Civil Liberties Union


Municipal Workers of Americas Create a New Regional Organisation

August 21, 2014:   The Confederation of Municipal Workers - PSI Americas (CONTRAM) held its founding congress in Mexico on 4 - 6 August 2014. This new organisation represents the specific interests of municipal workers in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The founding congress elected the CONTRAM Executive Board and debated issues including tax justice and the ways that corruption and tax evasion damage municipal services; the threats presented by free trade agreements; the fight against privatization and corruption; and the organization of women, youth and LGBT people, and the unity of all municipal workers in the Americas.

Sixteen Executive Board members (eight titular, eight substitute) were elected following PSI guidelines of gender balance, with 50% female and 50% male members. The titular members are: Rubén García (Argentina), Darío Restrepo (Colombia), Lairet Figueroa (Venezuela), Yesenia Jirón (Nicaragua), Mirtha Arias Noguer (Paraguay), Joao Domingos dos Santos (Brasil) and Paula Leite (Brasil). Substitute members are: Mariana Chicaiza (Ecuador), Juan Bautista Estrada (Colombia), Ana María Ríos (Honduras), Juan Camilo Bustamante (Chile), Odenir Guterres (Brasil), Karla Lucía Alves (Brasil) y Melvin Armando López (El Salvador). The nominations of a male titular representative from Mexico and a female substitute representative from Paraguay are still pending.

Representatives from Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Venezuela, and an observer from the Caribbean attended the founding Congress. The event received support from the Friedrich-Ebert Foundation (FES), GdG-KmSfB (Austria) and SUTSPEEH, the trade union of workers of the State of Hidalgo, Mexico. At the end of the CONTRAM-PSI Americas in Mexico, seven trade unions organisations from Brasil affiliated to PSI.

Source:  Public Services International--PSI representing 20 million workers in 150 countries

Tajikistan: EI Workshops Contribute to Building a Strong Union

21 August 2014:   Teacher unions - their roles and challenges - along with the activites of Education International were at the core of recent trade union workshops in Tajikistan.

The workshops, held in Khujand from 2-4 August and in Dushanbe from 5-7 August, were organised by Education International's (EI) Asia-Pacific regional office for members of its affiliate, the Republican Trade Union Committee of Education and Scientific Workers (RC-STES).

The 58 chairpersons of trade union school committees in attendence, who were mostly women, were keen to learn about the latest developments in education, especially in other Asian countries.

"The workshops were an eye opener," said EI Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator Jerome Fernandez. In Dushanbe, participants explored many trade union issues and felt the workshop would help them to work more efficiently in their roles as school committee chairpersons, he stressed.

Various methods were used to present the diverse topics, such as interactive discussions, role-playing, group work, awareness-raising exercises. Question and answer sessions were also very widely used. At the end, all participants established an action plan to be implemented in their respective schools, and local trade union committees were assigned to monitor the implementation.

Hot topics
During the workshops, participants:

  1. Discussed the role of teachers' unions in the market economy.
  2. Analysed existing education/trade union challenges/issues in their oblasts (regions).
  3. Explored the basic concepts and principles of leadership and the decision-making process.
  4. Learned about EI programmes and activities.
  5. Shared information and reviewed the essential components and strategies of the Unite campaign for quality education for all.
  6. Conducted an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
  7. Developed an individual plan of action to be implemented at the school/work place.

"In Khujand, most of the participants requested that EI consider organising an advanced level workshop later," said Fernandez, an indication of the success of these initial workshops.

Source:  Education International--EI uniting 30 million teachers and education workers in 401 organizations in 171 countries and territories

Two-Month UWUA Strike Defeats Subcontracting Attack

Aug 20, 2014:   Local 537 of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) is marking an important win after ratifying a new labour agreement with Pennsylvania-American Water. The new agreement brings nearly 150 workers back off strike and does not include management demands to eliminate protection against subcontracting.

Members of UWUA System Local 537 ratified the new four-year agreement on 16 August. The almost 150 UWUA workers' eight-week work stoppage paid off with solid job protections in the contract. The agreement covers four Pennsylvania-American Water worksites through the Pittsburgh area, USA. The new agreement also drops management's earlier attempt to heavily curtail employee sick leave benefits, and awards workers significant "catch up" salary increases after four years without a raise. But the major priority for the UWUA members was to block the subcontracting language that would have allowed management to replace their jobs with outsourced contractors.

Kevin Booth, System President of UWUA Local 537 saluted the new agreement: We can now return to work delivering essential public services to our customers without fear that management will destroy working families' jobs through unfair subcontracting. The previous collective agreement expired in May 2011 and the union struggle for this new labour agreement was hard-fought.

IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Jyrki Raina congratulated affiliate UWUA: When we fight, we win. This is the sort of standard setting victory against the global trend of employers using precarious work to weaken trade unions and the rights of all workers. UWUA's members deserve job security. We salute this win.

Source:  IndustriALL Global Union--IndustriALL represents 50 million workers in 140 countries

WE SHADE: Regional Wood and Forestry Conference in Indonesia

15 August 2014:   "We need to provide shade to all the workers from forest to factories by providing them with social protection, decent work and protection against violation of their rights," said Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of BWI while launching the BWI Asia Pacific Regional Wood and Forestry Network - WE SHADE (Workers Empowerment for Sustainable Forest, Human Rights and Decent Work) at the Regional Wood and Forestry Conference held in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia from 12-13 August, 2014. He emphasized that like trees, BWI forestry and wood unions need to grow by organising and building strong networks in order to uphold the struggle to protect forests and strive for the rights of wood workers in the region. He also reiterated that well-managed forests have the potential to reduce poverty, encourage economic development, and contribute to healthy local and global environment.

Still on the campaign for the WE SHADE, Ambet Yuson declared, "We must strongly support the recognition of the Sabah Timber Industry Employees Union (STIEU) at Sabah Forest Industry (SFI). As such, we will use the BWI global network in the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), contacts in the International Financing Corporation of the World Bank and the entire 39 Indian Affiliates Council towards this end."

The STIEU has been embroiled in legal tussles with the management of SFI in its long quest for trade union recognition since 1998, using legal maneuvers and technicalities to be recognize as a union. The BWI has informed the FSC, the PEFC and BILT unions in India about the SFI's refusal to recognize STIEU and is closely monitoring the outcome of audit report of the IFC.

Speaking at the launch of WE SHADE, Engrit Liaw announced that the STIEU is gearing up for another secret ballot election soon. "With the global support of the BWI, we are confident that we will surmount this challenge and garner enough votes to prove that SFI workers are on our side," she said.

"Essentially, in the interest of SFI company, in order to retain its FSC certification as well as secure new certification from the Malaysian Timber Certification System, endorsed by the PEFC; and more importantly to secure its loan from IFC-WB, this is the best time and opportunity to drop off all its legal and technical arguments on the right of STIEU to represent the entire workforce and voluntarily recognize the union. By so doing, SFI will gain respect from BWI and its social partners, proving that business interests and human rights; in this case trade union rights, can be pursued hand in hand," Ambet Yuson added.

The WE SHADE was launched with the theme "Advancing Trade Union Agenda in Sustainable Forest Management" with support from key institutions in the region - FSC Asia Pacific, Hong Kong; PEFC/MTCC, Kuala Lumpur; EU FLEGT Facility Regional Office, Kuala Lumpur; WWF, Indonesia; RECOFTC, Thailand and Rainforest Alliance, Indonesia. The FNV Bouw and EU FLEGT Facility Regional Office, Kuala Lumpur provided financial assistance that enabled 53 trade union leaders from Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Nepal, India, Fiji, Myanmar and the Philippines to participate in the conference.

Source:  Building and Wood Workers International--BWI represents 12 million workers in 328 affiliated unions from 130 countries

Unions at Rio Tinto Gear Up for Global Day of Action

Aug 14, 2014:   Union leaders from seven countries at mining giant Rio Tinto came together at the United Steelworkers Convention this week to discuss plans for their upcoming global day of action.

Representatives from trade unions at Rio Tinto in Australia, Canada, France, Indonesia, South Africa, the UK and the US met at the convention in Las Vegas. They form part of the global network of unions at Rio Tinto, which earlier this year launched a global campaign against the company. They were joined at the meeting by union leadership from Germany and IndustriALL Global Union.

Participants discussed plans for their global day of action against Rio Tinto on 7 October, when IndustriALL affiliates around the world will take action to demand decent work as part of the STOP Precarious Work campaign. The Rio Tinto Global Union Network chose 7 October to hold their global day of action because the billion-dollar company is increasingly introducing precarious forms of work at its operations around the globe.

For instance, the Steelworkers union at Rio Tinto subsidiary Kennecott in Utah, USA reported that Rio Tinto has adopted the practice of reducing the workforce through attrition and then replacing the retiring workers with contractors. "Unions at Rio Tinto are coming together like never before to demand decent work. We will send that message loud and clear on 7 October," stated IndustriALL Assistant General Secretary Kemal Ozkan. The unions agreed at the meeting on the need for Rio Tinto to change its approach to unions and recognize them as a key stakeholder worthy of respect. Until that happens, "We want to poke them in the eye and kick them in the shins," stated CFMEU Mining and Energy General Secretary Andrew Vickers, who is also the IndustriALL mining section Chairman.

Source:  IndustriALL Global Union--IndustriALL represents 50 million workers in 140 countries

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