LabourStart Solidarity Campaigns
Fast Food Global...Low Pay is Not OK
Re-Run the Vote: No World Cup Without Workers Rights...
International Trade Union Confederation
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
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.
Longshore Workers' Grain Agreement Heralds Return to Work
28 August 2014: United States longshore workers who load grain in Pacific Northwest export terminals voted on 26 August to ratify a new collective bargaining agreement with several multinational grain companies.
ITF affiliate the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) had accused the global grain giants of attacking an 80-year-old collective bargaining agreement with the union. A successful agreement was reached after two years of negotiations involving 70 separate sessions. The dispute saw lockouts at Portland's Columbia Grain and Vancouver's United Grain facilities, when the multinationals reportedly hired non-union replacement workers. The agreement heralded the return to work on 27 August of ILWU members.
The vote included members of ILWU Local 8 in Portland, Oregon; and in Washington State, Local 4 in Vancouver, Local 21 in Longview, Local 19 in Seattle and Local 23 in Tacoma. They collectively voted 88.4% in favour of a tentative agreement with Louis Dreyfus Commodities, United Grain Corporation and Columbia Grain Inc that includes work rule changes and wage increases, and which will be in effect until 31 May, 2018. Members voting for the agreement totalled 1,475, with 193 voting against.
Ray Familathe, international vice president of the ILWU and ITF dockers' section vice chair, said: "Bargaining was difficult, but in the end, both sides compromised significantly from their original positions, resulting in a workable collective bargaining agreement that preserves the work of the ILWU-represented workforce and fosters stability for the export grain industry."
The ITF launched a solidarity campaign for the longshore workers and its affiliates worldwide also demonstrated their support - for example, the captain and crew of the vessel Ramada Queen at United Grain in Vancouver Port in 2013 offered solidarity on behalf of their own union, the Japanese Seamen's Union (JSU). The JSU's contracts include an ITF solidarity clause that its members will honour other unions' picket lines. ITF general secretary Steve Cotton congratulated the ILWU on the successful outcome and remarked that it sent a clear message to other multinationals that the union family would not stand by when they try to put profit above workers' rights.
Building Union Power in Latin America's Textile Sector
Aug 27, 2014: Trade union leaders in the textile, garment, leather and footwear sectors in Latin America came together in Brazil earlier this month to discuss how to use global framework agreements and trade union networks to build union power.
The FES-funded workshop brought together forty-five union leaders from Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Mexico and Uruguay. The workshop gave the participants the opportunity to learn the workings of global framework agreements and networks, and to dive into the many challenges of confronting global capital in a constantly changing global garment supply chain. Participants discussed the merits of strategic organizing and engaged in a hands-on mapping exercise.
Isidor Boix, from IndustriALL Global Union Spanish affiliate CCOO de Industria and coordinator of the global framework agreement with Spanish retail giant Inditex, joined the meeting via skype. Union leaders from Argentina and Brazil outlined the advances that have been made in their country to organize the Inditex plants in their respective countries. The workshop was followed by a one-day regional textile conference, which gave delegates the opportunity to drill down into IndustriALL's strategic plan for the region and to discuss how to implement it in the textile clothing and leather sectors.
Participants also engaged in a discussion with CSI/TUCA representative Bulend Karadag on how to use the Playfair campaign to ensure respect for the rights of workers employed in the supply chain of mega sporting events such as the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The Sintrasaludcoop Story - Women Organising for Change and Winning
27 August 2014: In 2011, 23 women in Colombia formed a union in their workplace. These women have faced a roller coaster ride of organising drives, negotiations, legal challenges and employer hostility, but less than three years later their private health workers' union has grown to more than 10,000 members and now covers huge segments of the Colombian private health company they work for. This union is called Sintrasaludcoop, and is going from strength to strenth, negotiating and winning workplace agreements across the Salud Coop group of companies. Their experience shows that even in a climate of intense employer hostility, worker atomisation and geographic challenges, workers can organise an entire employer and win - when they take the opportunities workplace issues and shifting contexts provide.
Colombia is undoubtedly going through huge shifts, with GDP growth alone signalling big changes in the country's economy. At the same time, workers are organising like never before - and there is clearly capacity to increase wages and improve conditions. There is huge resistance to the worker organising happening in Colombia - but workers are continuing to stand together for improvements, with mass industrial action taking place around the country, particularly in the agricultural, health, transport and energy sectors.
Colombia is one of the most unequal countries in the world, and there is clearly a huge contest taking place as to whose needs should be prioritised as the economy grows and society changes. UNICARE affiliates in the private health sector are at the forefront of these struggles and, as the government begins a process of health system contract cuts which will bring collapse and consolidation to companies in the sector which has been privatized for some time, UNI Global Union will continue to support efforts by workers to organise and improve their lives.
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.