Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO

Resolution: In Support of Global Labor Programs to Defend Worker Rights

Whereas the global economy is not working for workers, and wage stagnation, the decline in formal employment and full-time jobs, and the growth of income inequality are hurting working families not just in Maryland and DC, but across the United States, and all over the world;

Whereas international supply chains force hundreds of millions of workers to labor under dangerous working conditions, human rights abuses, and inadequate wages, such as in Bangladesh, where preventable workplace tragedies have claimed the lives of more than 1,300 garment workers since 2012;

Whereas 38 African trade union leaders traveled to Washington DC in August 2014 to the Africa leaders Civil Society Summit to join with the AFL-CIO to emphasize that decent jobs must be at the heart of inclusive and sustainable economic growth;

Whereas workers’ right to join a union and bargain collectively is under attack or denied outright in many countries, such as in Honduras, where an AFL-CIO October 2014 delegation met with brave workers who face death threats and violence when they try to organize unions, and who see migration to the United States as the only hope for a sustainable livelihood for their families;

Whereas workers need strong unions to protect their rights and livelihoods in the context of free trade agreements and corporate-driven globalization that puts pressure on worker rights and labor law enforcement;

Whereas union families in Maryland and DC must stand with the workers overseas who produce for our market, and must fight for a global economy that produces shared prosperity for all;

Whereas the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO recognize that the Solidarity Center is helping unions around the world to build skills, strategies, and global partnerships to defend labor rights, and is delivering effective assistance on behalf of US working families to labor unions and labor rights NGOs abroad;

Be it therefore resolved that the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO will ask our Congressional delegation to call on US government, which is funded by the tax dollars of American working families, to increase its support for programs that promote and defend worker rights overseas, and further call on the US government to ensure that those programs are carried out by organizations that have the backing and trust of American working families and the AFL-CIO.                                            

(adopted at the November 18, 2014 Executive Board meeting)

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