Union freedom in the USA

It's usually developing countries where union rights violations take place. But one of the worst records around the world for ratifying the core conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is held by the USA. In particular, it has not ratified ILO Conventions 87 and 98 which deal with freedom of association (the right to join a union) and the right to bargain collectively with your employer over your terms and conditions of employment. US Governments routinely claim that ratification is less important than complying in practice with the spirit of the conventions. But then they don't do that, either.

Now, the US labour movement and its allies in all sorts of parts of the community (but in particular the Democrats in Congress and the White House) are campaigning to change that by passing the Employee Free Choice Act, which would give US workers more of a say in deciding whether to have a union that bargains collectively.

The TUC is supporting their campaign, with a cross-party Early Day Motion in Parliament (we guess that if there's anyone in the UK who US politicians will take notice of, it's UK politicians!) and materials on our website for people wanting to spread the word or talk to their own employers who have business interests in the US (the main opponents of the Act are shadowy business front organisations – many with household name member companies who won't reveal in public what they're really up to – and some few US corporations who really don't have ANY shame at all, like Wal-Mart).

We think US workers should have a better deal at work – so they can negotiate fair wages, equal access to healthcare, an end to discrimination on grounds of sex, race, age and disability, and a decent pension on which to retire. These are essential human rights, and US workers often don't have them.

 Owen Tudor

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