Friday, December 10, 2010

Excluded Workers Unite to Expand the Human Right to Organize

From our friends and allies at the Southern Human Rights Organizers Conference, which starts today in Birmingham, Alabama:
Excluded Workers Report Introduced on International Human Rights Day

Today, International Human Rights Day, workers from sectors historically excluded from labor protections and the right to organize are speaking out in Birmingham, San Francisco, New York, Washington DC, and here in New Orleans.

After launching the Excluded Workers Congress at the US Social Forum in Detroit earlier this summer, representatives from 9 different sectors have released “Unity for Dignity: Expanding the Right to Organize to Win Human Rights at Work,” a report highlighting on-going efforts to dramatically expand workers’ human right to organize and collectively bargain.

The Excluded Workers Congress and the report highlight workers who have historically been excluded from labor protections, the right to organize, and underrepresented in the labor movement - domestic workers, farmworkers, taxi drivers, restaurant workers, day laborers, guestworkers, workers from Southern “right to work” states, workfare workers and formerly incarcerated workers.

In addition to highlighting specific stories of workers, the report discusses on-going campaigns of their organizations, and innovative strategies to expand the right-to-organize in the United States, including the fight to win collective bargaining rights for domestic workers and the campaign for the POWER Act, which would protect immigrant workers from employer retaliation if they file a labor complaint. “Unity for Dignity” lays out a vision for an expanded labor movement, including collaboration between sectors, traditional trade unions, worker centers, and international partners.

“Expanding the workers’ right to organize and collectively bargain in existing and new jobs is a key factor in guaranteeing a real economic recovery,” said Sarita Gupta, executive director of Jobs with Justice. “When working families have the means to live a dignified life, the economy as a whole will benefit.”

The Excluded Workers Congress is currently laying the groundwork for upcoming action in the New Year.

To see a video of the first Congress of Excluded Workers at the US Social Forum, go to this link.

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