LabourStart Solidarity Campaigns
USA: AFL-CIO Petition...Pass the Richard L. Trumka Protecting the Right to Organize Act
Pharmacy Guild...International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
People Over Profit...Public Services International
Union Member Candidate Program...American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations
Campaign to Organize Digital Employees...Communications Workers of America
Fight for $15...Low Pay is Not OK
Cultural Workers United... American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
One Fair Wage...Restaurant Opportunities Centers United
Committee for Better Banks...Coalition of labor, community and consumer advocacy organizations
ITUC Global Rights Index
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) 2023 Global Rights Index rates the world's worst countries for workers -- 149 countries on a scale from 1 to 5+ relevant to respect of workers' rights.
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. Relevant NEWS and ARTICLES
International Day of Persons with Disabilities: Trade unions take the lead
01-12-2023: To mark the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December, the ITUC is highlighting the critical contributions of trade unions in promoting the rights, and supporting the integration, of people living with disabilities.
ITUC General Secretary Luc Triangle said: "The work of these trade unions highlights a broader global movement to more inclusive workplaces. Trade unions are steadfast in their support of the rights of people living with disabilities. Collective bargaining is crucial for achieving equity at work and in society as a whole; a key aspect of the New Social Contract.
"However, governments and employers need to take on their share of the responsibility. Early findings from the forthcoming UN Disability and Development Report 2023 indicate that the world is further off track than ever from meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for people with disabilities.
"We call for a renewed effort to reach the SDGs and make the promise of by UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities a reality."
Source: International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 200 million workers in 168 countries and territories and has 338 national affiliates
Building union power along Pou Chen supply chain
28 November, 2023: The Pou Chen trade union network met for the second time in Indonesia on 22-23 November. The meeting, part of the project on developing global supply chain industrial relations for the textile, garment, shoes and leather sector through advocacy and action, focused on sectoral priorities, including due diligence, just transition and building union power through supply chain industrial relations.
Pou Chen is one of the largest multinational shoe manufacturers in the world, supplying leading sports brands like Nike, Adidas, Puma, New Balance, VF and Asics.
Plant level union leaders and IndustriALL affiliated federation leaders from Indonesia, Cambodia and Bangladesh participated in the meeting and discussed wages, contracts, maternity leave, union recognition and negotiations, occupational safety and health and collective bargaining agreements.
Although workers along Pou Chen supply chains in some countries are well-organized, that is not the case for everyone. In some countries workers are not even legally allowed to form unions as the factory is situated at the export processing zones. Network participants agreed to increase the work to build solidarity among unions in different countries to ensure that workers enjoy the same right of their freedom of association and collective bargaining throughout the supply chain of Pou Chen.
Together with Pou Chen management, Adidas and VF participated and discussed corporate sustainability priorities, responsible sourcing, health and safety at workplace and on building cooperation with workers represented trade unions. They all committed to work through the network by enhancing communication to build sustainable industrial relations.
Christina Hajagos-Clausen, IndustriALL sector director, says: "IndustriALL and its affiliated trade union in the Pou Chen supply chain look forward to working together with management and global sportwear brands to develop sound industrial relations and to ensure that all Pou Chen workers are able to organize and bargain collectively."
The meeting ended with a visit to plant level factory union office of SPN, one of IndustriALL's largest textile and garment affiliates in Indonesia. The factory employs 48,000 workers, out of which 45,000 are union members.
Source: IndustriALL Global Union--IndustriALL represents 50 million workers in 140 countries
Wells Fargo Workers Make History With First Union Election
22.11.23: Wells Fargo employees at branches in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Bethel, Alaska, have filed for the bank's first-ever union elections. This ground-breaking step towards formal recognition of the Communications Workers of America's Wells Fargo Workers United (WFWU) signals a major shift in the banking industry, traditionally one of the least unionized sectors in the U.S. economy. The CWA is a UNI Global Union affiliate.
The workers' petition, filed with U.S. government's National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), marks not only the first such effort at Wells Fargo but at any major U.S. bank in decades, underscoring the escalating demand among financial services workers for greater representation and reform.
"Wells Fargo workers in every state, division and department need a voice on the job for ourselves and our customers," said Sabrina Perez, a Senior Premier Banker at Wells Fargo's Albuquerque, NM branch. "We are joining together in a union in order to fight back against Wells Fargo's toxic culture and move the bank towards a brighter future where workers and customers are treated with respect. While we are the first Wells Fargo workers to file for union elections, we will not be the last."
The unionization drive comes in the wake of the 2016 fake account scandal, where Wells Fargo employees, particularly those affiliated with the Committee for Better Banks, played a crucial role in exposing the bank's malpractices. Since then, worker support for organizing at the bank has grown, with over 1,000 workers signing the WFWU support pledge in just the last two weeks.
"We know that we deserve better, and so do our customers. While Wells Fargo rakes in billions of dollars each year off the backs of workers like me, I'm forced to work a second job just to make rent," said Walker Sexton, a Personal Banker at the Bethel branch.
The unionization efforts at Wells Fargo have faced resistance, with the bank allegedly engaging in illegal practices to hinder union activities. This includes intimidation and retaliation against organizing workers, as included in a series of charges filed with the US government.
In response to these developments, Angelo Di Cristo, Head of UNI's Finance sector, expressed solidarity with the Wells Fargo workers, stating, "Wells Fargo workers want what millions of banking employees around the world already have: a voice on the job and the protections of collective bargaining. UNI Finance unions from every corner of the globe stand with them in solidarity because their fight for fair wages and better conditions is our fight."
Source: UNI Global Union--UNI represents more than 20 million workers from over 150 countries
We stand with France Castro. Education International firmly condemns the death threats against the Filipino congresswoman
20 November 2023: France Castro has received repeated death threats from Rodrigo Duterte, former President of the Philippines. The lawmaker has filed a formal complaint against Duterte, making this the first criminal case against Duterte after the end of his mandate.
"We stand in solidarity with France Castro, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, and all human rights activists in the Philippines. France is bravely taking a stand against Duterte and his violent repression tactics. Duterte must be held accountable and activists like France must be protected." David Edwards, Education International General Secretary.
France Castro is the former Secretary General of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Education International member organisation in the Philippines, and a member of the Philippine House of Representatives for the 19th Congress.
In her role as Congresswoman, Castro has opposed the request of Vice President and Education Minister Sara Duterte, daughter of Rodrigo Duterte, for confidential funds in the education budget. Castro's position on the education budget has triggered vicious attacks from Rodrigo Duterte who falsely accused Castro of being a communist and threatened her life on national television.
At the end of October, Castro filed a legal complaint against Rodrigo Duterte over the death threats. After the court issued a subpoena ordering Duterte to appear before the Office of the City Prosecutor in December, the former President threatened Castro's life again.
"Duterte's grave threats, and the fact of their continued spread even until today, present dangers to my life, liberty, and security," Castro stressed in the complaint. "With that knowledge, I now live in constant fear that I will be a victim of such extrajudicial killing, forced disappearance, illegal arrest or detention that he repeatedly admitted having perpetrated in the past."
The global education community stands with France Castro and all human rights defenders in the Philippines and calls on the justice system to hold Rodrigo Duterte accountable for his actions.
Source: Education International--EI uniting 383 member organisations representing more than 32 million teachers and education support personnel in 178 countries and territories
BWI welcomes US commitment to protect workers' rights at home and abroad
17 November, 2023: The ability of workers to form and join independent and autonomous trade unions without any interference is a pillar of democracy. In addition, in a global economy, denial of trade union rights, the use of forced child labour and other abuses gives countries and companies unfair trade and investment advantages that can lower the standards for others.
Yesterday, the historic announcement by the United States government to put the needs of workers at the centre of its international diplomacy and to advance labour rights through a whole-of-government approach was welcomed to give hope to millions of exploited building, construction, and forestry workers and their trade unions. The Biden administration's Global Labour Strategy enshrined in the "Presidential Memorandum on Advancing Worker Empowerment, Rights, and High Labor Standards Globally" was launched coinciding with the 2023 meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) hosted by the United States.
BWI said that the United States support to international labour standards should inspire other governments to use all tools available to globalise solidarity and social justice. "For much too long, working people have been left behind by broken labour market policies and approaches that have favoured corporations, smashed trade union rights and undermined hard-won labour rights. Democracies are precarious when they serve the interests of the wealthy and powerful few rather than those who do the work that makes our workplaces, communities, and societies function. Workers work for an economy that, too often, does not work for them," BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson said.
"Migrant workers in construction, women workers, those in the informal economy across all continents, indigenous peoples in our rainforests, like in the Amazon, and many others, are especially disadvantaged by social and economic injustice complicated by global warming. All of these challenges are both national and international challenges," Yuson remarked.
"As a global union federation, BWI is working on the ground wherever possible to support unions and workers defending their rights and mobilising solidarity where we are not allowed to enter. Progress on defence of rights through the US initiative and similar measures will help liberate workers so that they can make change happen through organising and bargaining collectively." Yuson said.
Source: Building and Woodworkers International--BWI uniting 12 million workers in 350 trade unions in 140 countries
AFL-CIO: New Global Labor Directive Is a Game Changer for Workers in the U.S. and Around the World
Press Release: Statement from AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler on the release of the Biden administration's new global labor directive:
November 16, 2023: We applaud President Biden's announcement today of the Presidential Memorandum on Advancing Worker Empowerment, Rights, and High Labor Standards Globally, a framework that will reshape how U.S. government agencies conduct international diplomacy by putting workers' rights and standards at the center.
Across the globe, working people are united in our fight against growing corporate overreach and abuse, low wages, attacks on organizing, the absence of strong benefits and poor working conditions. This new strategy is a major victory for workers everywhere and underscores that workers' rights are essential to our country's national and foreign policy, and national and economic security. This framework will leverage diplomacy to promote internationally recognized labor rights and worker organizing; create measures that enable swift responses to violence and threats against trade union leaders, activists and organizations; improve the capacity of U.S. agencies and foreign missions to engage with workers and their representatives to improve the lives of working people; and enhance and enforce fair trade practices. The directive recognizes that no matter where we live, all workers deserve dignity and respect on the job.
We need a global economy that puts working people at the center, and we look forward to collaborating with the Biden administration to implement and execute the strategy with our partners and allies at home and abroad.
Source: American Federation of Labor - Congress of Industrial Organizations--AFL-CIO is the National Trade Union Center in the United States
International Labour Organization: Landmark decision on right to strike
In a crucial decision, the ILO Governing Body has voted in favour of seeking a resolution from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over a long-standing dispute between workers' and employers' representatives related to the right to strike.
13-11-2023: ILO jurisprudence effectively means that the right to strike derives under international law from ILO Conventions 87 (Freedom of Association) and 98 (Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining).
For nearly 10 years, there has been an impasse on the issue at the ILO between the worker representatives, who support the ILO jurisprudence, and the representatives of employers. Under the ILO Constitution, questions such as this can be sent to the ICJ.
In the vote held on 10 November, 19 government representatives on the Governing Body voted with the 14 worker delegates to send the issue to the ICJ. Just seven voted with the employer group, which also has 14 members, while two governments abstained.
ITUC General Secretary Luc Triangle said: "The right to strike is fundamental for workers to get a fair deal and, as history shows, for democracy. We welcome this decision and look forward to putting our case to the ICJ. We are confident that this process will validate the decades of ILO jurisprudence on the right to strike in international law."
Source: International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 200 million workers in 168 countries and territories and has 338 national affiliates
Tesla conflict in Sweden escalates
9 November, 2023: As electric car manufacturer Tesla refused to engage in negotiations on a collective agreement, Swedish union IF Metall realised it's strike warnings on 27 October. With opposition to Tesla's anti-union attitude growing, other Swedish unions are taking solidarity action to protect the right to collective bargaining. Unions in Norway are set to join the protest.
As part of a solidarity action that began on 7 November, the Swedish Transport Workers Union stopped offloading Tesla cars at four of the country's main ports. A complete blockade of the loading and offloading of Tesla cars in all Swedish ports could come into effect on 17 November.
The Electrical Workers' Union is joining the solidarity action; as of 17 November, its members will not provide any service for the brand at Tesla's 12 workshops or 213 charging stations in Sweden. The Real Estate Workers' Union has announced a blockade as of 17 November and will not clean Tesla's four workplaces.
The latest union to join the action against Tesla is the Swedish Union for Service and Communications Employees, SEKO, who will stop delivering post and parcels to Tesla, saying in a statement that: "IF Metall's fight is important for the Swedish model of collective bargaining."
Support is now coming from Norway. Norwegian union Fellesforbundet warns it will block Swedish Teslas coming to Norway.
IF Metall has been trying to negotiate a collective agreement for its members who service and repair Tesla vehicles at TM Sweden AB for years. Despite the union's efforts, Tesla is refusing to sign an agreement, saying that it does not fit the company's business model. When negotiations stalled, IF Metall launched industrial action on 27 October in 12 Tesla-owned garages, subsequently adding another 20 that also service Tesla cars. A brief return to the negotiating table on 1 November yielded nothing, and IF Metall reports of Tesla using strike breakers to ensure business as usual.
Says IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Atle Høie: "The Swedish model where employers and unions engage in social dialogue has brought a stable labour market where everyone benefits, and which serves as an example to many countries around the world. Tesla's irrational dislike for unions does not make him exempt from the rules and IndustriALL strongly supports IF Metall and the other Swedish unions taking action."
Isabelle Barthès, acting joint general secretary of industriAll Europe, says: "We assure our Swedish colleagues of our unwavering support as they take on Tesla to fight for their right to collective bargaining and, simply put, to defend their model of industrial relations."
But this confrontation goes beyond defending workers' and trade union rights in a single company, in a single country. As Europe rightly supports clean technologies such as electric mobility and new, emerging industries such as battery production, it is vital that such investments lead to good industrial jobs. No public support should be given to companies that undermine social standards and engage in union busting.
"This confrontation is part of a larger battle for an industrial transformation that is fair for workers and shaping Europe's industrial and industrial relations landscape for years to come," says Isabelle Barthès.
"Rest assured that Europe's industrial workers are on the offensive for good industrial jobs, in Sweden and all across the continent."
Source: IndustriALL Global Union--IndustriALL represents 50 million workers in 140 countries
USA: Region 14-St. Louis Approves Settlement of More than $145,000 for Unlawfully Terminated Employees, an Agreement by the Employer to Recognize and Bargain with the Union Under Cemex, and Training for Managers and Supervisors
November 06, 2023: On October 26, 2023, the Regional Director of Region 14-St. Louis approved a settlement agreement between Point Management d/b/a Shangri-La, a Columbia, Missouri cannabis dispensary, and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 655 that resolved 15 unfair labor practice charges covering dozens of unfair labor practice allegations, which were set for trial on October 30, 2023.
Shangri-La agreed to offer reinstatement to five employees and to pay more than $145,000 which includes backpay, front pay, interest, and compensation for direct or foreseeable pecuniary harm to a total of 10 employees who were terminated following a March 2023 union organizing drive.
Among other remedies obtained in the settlement, Shangri-La agreed to:
The settlement negotiated by the Region in this matter also contains a settlement of allegations arising under Cemex, 372 NLRB No. 130 (August 25, 2023). Shangri-La has agreed to rescind alleged unilateral changes it made after UFCW Local 655 filed a petition for representation covering Shangri-La's employees at its South location. Because Shangri-La agreed to recognize and bargain with the UFCW Local 655, the related representation petition has been withdrawn by UFCW Local 655.
"I am proud of the Region 14 staff for their efforts in protecting employee rights and achieving a settlement in accordance with the General Counsel's vision of fully restorative relief," said NLRB Region 14 Regional Director Andrea J. Wilkes. "Individually and collectively, this settlement vindicates employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act."
Source: United States National Labor Relations Board
Myanmar: Independent outlet shuttered, journalist arrested
01 November 2023: On October 29, police and military personnel raided the office of the independent news outlet, the Development Media Group, arresting reporter Htet Aung and shuttering the outlet. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate, the Myanmar Journalists Network (MJN) condemn the raid and closure as an attack on press freedom and call on the international community to embolden efforts in support of Myanmar's independent media.
On the afternoon of October 29, a contingent of approximately 20 soldiers and police officers from the western coastal Rakhine state stormed the office of independent outlet the Development Media Group (DMG), arresting local reporter Htet Aung and a security guard and seizing cameras, computers, and documents. Aung was reportedly arrested after taking photos of a religious ceremony in Sittwe, the state capital.
Aung and the security guard are both being held at a police station in Sittwe, with the United States Congress-funded outlet Radio Free Asia claiming the pair were not allowed to speak with their relatives. Their current status is currently unknown, as are the locations or well-being of remaining DMG staff, who have reportedly been forced into hiding. Junta authorities have failed to disclose the reason for their arrest.
The DMG was launched in 2012 on the Thai-Burmese border, before relocating to Rakhine. In 2019, the military-controlled Home Affairs Ministry filed a lawsuit against the outlet's editor-in-chief Aung Min Oo under the Unlawful Associations Act, with authorities neglecting to disclose the justification for the charges. In 2021, editor U Ne Win San and reporter Ma Hnin New were charged under the Telecommunications Law, after publishing a story about alleged grain theft committed by government troops. The outlet is one of several independent publications restricted by the junta since 2021.
In the IFJ's 2022 Myanmar situation report, 'The Revolution Will Not Be Broadcast', journalists and media workers have faced a campaign of arrests, detentions, and violence from junta forces, often justified through a manipulated legal code. In September, Myanmar Now photojournalist Sai Zaw Thaike was sentenced to over 20 years in prison following his arrest in Sittwe on May 23, the harshest decision against a media professional since the junta's ascension to power in 2021.
The MJN said: "The raid on the news agency's office and the arrest of the journalist and the office guard are another act of oppression of the media by the coup junta. Freedom of the press is still oppressed and severely violated. It shows that journalists are still being targeted, arrested, and punished."
The IFJ said: "This latest attack on independent media in Myanmar is representative of the junta's systematic campaign against dissent. The IFJ condemns the shuttering of the Development Media Group and the persecution of its journalists, and urges global governments, civil society organisations, and development actors to increase their efforts in support of independent Burmese media."
Source: International Federation of Journalists--IFJ represents 600,000 media professionals from 187 trade unions and associations in more than 140 countries