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The New Yorker: Flight Attendants Fighting Back   |   Truthout: Graduate Student Workers Across the Country Are Helping Each Other Unionize   |   Dissent: Belabored: Women Leading the Labor Movement   |   On Labor: The Strike Zone--U.S. Soccer Labor Agreements Install Equal Pay   |   Capital and Main: Why Labor Leader Tefere Gebre Has Brought His Organizing Talents to Greenpeace   |   In These Times: The Amazon Labor Union Victory Shows That Jurisdiction Is Dead   |   American Prospect: House of Representatives Staff Given the Right to Form a Union   |   International Labor Organization: Nearly 5 million jobs have been lost in Ukraine since the start of the Russian aggression, says ILO   |   The Stand: 1,600 Washington State University student workers file for union   |   New Republic: What Unions Are Doing to Protect American Democracy   |   Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen to mark 159th anniversary on May 8, 2022   |   The Progressive: Neal Adams and the Fight to Unionize Comics   |   HuffPost: House Lawmakers Demand More Labor Board Funds As Workplace Organizing Spreads

News and Articles Relating to the Insurrection Against the United States of America on January 06, 2021 - (update May 24, 2022)

RadioLabour DailyRadio Labour:  International Labour Movement's Radio Service, Bringing Labour's Voices to the World

AFL-CIO Now Blog

LabourStart Solidarity Campaigns

USA: AFL-CIO Petition...
Write Your United States Senators - Pass the PRO Act

People Over Profit...
Public Services International

Justice for Fishers - Fishers' Rights Network...
International Transport Workers Federation

Pharmacare: A Plan for Everyone...
Canadian Labour Congress

Union Member Candidate Program...
American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations

Campaign to Organize Digital Employees...
Communications Workers of America

U.S. Mail Not for Sale...
American Postal Workers Union and National Association of Letter Carriers

Fight for $15...Low Pay is Not OK

One Fair Wage...
Restaurant Opportunities Centers United

Committee for Better Banks...
coalition of labor, community and consumer advocacy organizations

Justice for Port Drivers...
International Brotherhood of Teamsters

Union Yes

ITUC Global Rights Index

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) 2021 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

Amnesty International

American Civil Liberties Union

13-month campaign leads to union win

19 May, 2022:   Thirteen months of continuous campaigning has led to a union win for Triumph International Thailand Labour Union (TITLU). Now Brilliant Alliance Thai Global (BAT) will pay the money owed to the 1,388 illegally fired workers.

The 1,388 workers were fired without notice in March 2021 as the factory, supplying lingerie brands Victoria's Secret, Torrid and Lane Bryant, suddenly closed, using the pandemic and a lack of orders as reasons. The workers, mostly women, were left in dire conditions in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, as the factory owners refused to pay wages, overtime, holiday and severance pay owed.

The Thai labour inspector ordered the company to pay THB 242million (US$7.4 million) for violating the country's labour laws. The company offered to pay workers in instalments over a 10-year period. When this was rejected by the union, the company went into liquidation and promised to fulfil its legal obligations. Since there was no further movement, TITLU, together with the Textile Workers Federation of Thailand (TWFT) and the Confederation of Industrial Labour of Thailand (CILT), held several demonstrations demanding that the company and the government fulfil workers' rights under the labour laws.

On 14 February, Valentine's day, IndustriALL organized a regional day of action and unionists from Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines and Thailand participated in store actions, a social media campaign and sending protest letters to the brands, demanding that the workers be paid immediately.

After negotiations, the company has now agreed to pay US$8 million in total to the lingerie workers by the end of April. The amount includes the wages, overtime, holiday and severance pay that BAT owed the workers, as well as eight per cent per annum interest.

"It is a great victory which is the result of the international labour movement cooperating to protect the rights of 1,388 workers to receive their severance pay. Thank you for all the efforts that led to this success," says Prasit Prasopsuk, CILT president.

Christina Hajagos-Clausen, IndustriALL director of textile and garment industry says: "Through the perseverance of the workers, the Triumph union leadership and countless international actions of solidarity, a 13-month long struggle concludes with an agreement that pays the BAT workers their legal severance. "This is why IndustriALL is demanding that a strong social safety net be the solution to the continued problem of wage theft that plagues the textile and garment supply chain. Now is the time for a global and enforceable agreement between trade unions, global brands, and their suppliers on social protection."

Source:  IndustriALL Global Union--IndustriALL represents 50 million workers in 140 countries

2022 International Nurses Day and Second COVID-19 Global Summit

May 12, 2022:   PSI joins its nursing affiliates across the world to commemorate the 2022 International Nurses Day (IND). This year's IND comes up as G20 countries gather virtually for the Second Global COVID-19 Summit, amid a global tidal wave of strikes and protests of nurses and other health workers.

In Turkey, Sri Lanka, Australia, Slovenia and Finland, nurses and other health workers have demanded appropriate recognition of the role they play as the backbone of health systems. This requires improved wages and working conditions and adequate staffing for safe and effective healthcare delivery.

World leaders need to go beyond empty words and applause for nurses. They need to "mobilize the funding and political will required to achieve global targets for COVID-19 response" and realization for the right to health. This requires prioritizing of investment in the training and employment of nurses and the broader health workforce, on a basis of the decent work agenda.

It might appear that we are putting the COVID-19 pandemic behind us, in some parts of the world. This is because, in those countries-which are the wealthier nations, vaccination coverage has soared to upwards of 90 percent plus; testing rates and access to therapeutics, including oral antivirals, are near universal; and personal protective equipment is available to nurses and other health workers.

But in Africa, for example, just 15% of the population has been vaccinated. And this includes just one out of every four health workers. The reason for this worrisome situation is that wealthy countries have backed biopharmaceutical corporations making sickening extents of super-profits, using the weapon of intellectual property rights. And this is although those governments supported these corporations with over a hundred billion dollars to develop the vaccines.

As the emergence of variants of concern such as Omicron shows, no one is safe until we are all safe. And for everybody to be safe, we need a minimum of 70% vaccine coverage across every country in the world. The global "vaccine apartheid" is analogous to the global inequalities we see when we look at access to healthcare and healthcare workers. There is a global health and social workforce shortage even before the pandemic. It was projected that this would reach 18 million by 2030, which is now barely seven years away.

Specifically, with the nursing profession, there was a shortage of just under 6 million nurses, on the eve of the pandemic, as captured in the World Health Organization's State of the World's Nursing 2020 report issued on World Health Day 2020.

Last year, the International Council of Nurses argued that the number might have more than doubled during the pandemic, to 13 million. The reason for this projection is quite clear. Millions of experienced nurses have had to leave the profession, due to lack of adequate occupational safety and health measures, poor wages - including wage ceilings, and burnout. Meanwhile, younger people who see what nurses and other health workers are going through, despite their central roles in the pandemic response, now find the profession less attractive to younger people.

In the 2020 State of the World's Nursing report, the WHO also showed that 80 percent of the shortage of 6 million nurses worldwide was in low - and middle-income countries (LMICs). Meanwhile, thousands of nurses migrate from these countries to the wealthier countries because of poor wages and working conditions.

Tax havens

The fiscal policy space of governments in LMICs to invest adequately in education, jobs and leadership of nurses is constricted by conditionalities of international financial institutions, illicit financial flows, and tax avoidance.

The State of Tax Justice 2020 report, for example, shows that one nurse's salary is lost to tax havens every second. To put it in another way, $427 billion in tax is lost to international corporate tax abuse and evasion every year. This amount would cover the annual salaries of 34 million nurses. Meanwhile, the global nursing and midwifery workforce comprises 27 million women and men!

So, it is not because of lack of resources that nurses are overworked because health systems are understaffed or underpaid and not provided with adequate protection at the workplace. The problem is systemic; the wealth (and tax theft) of a handful of persons and their corporations have been made to matter much more than the lives of nurses and all of us, the 99%. An important lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic, which is not yet over, is that we need to reorganize society along the lines of priorities and perspectives that clearly and unambiguously put the people and planet before profit.

PSI will continue to urge world leaders to draw this correct lesson. PSI nursing affiliates are also showing their realization of an important lesson with their ongoing wave of mass strikes. This is that, even though the good sense is clear in the need for improved public funding of nursing and decent work for nurses, we will not win it without struggle. PSI stands for and will continue to promote the collective might of nurses in their struggles across the world. Viva nurses of the world!

Source:  Public Services International--PSI uniting more than 30 million workers in 154 countries

USA: NLRB Files in Federal Court Seeking Immediate Reinstatement for Seven Starbucks Workers in Memphis

May 10, 2022:   Today, NLRB Region 15-New Orleans Regional Director Kathleen McKinney petitioned in United States District Court for injunctive relief for seven former Starbucks employees in Memphis, Tennessee who were unlawfully fired for exercising their right to form a union. Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act authorizes the National Labor Relations Board to seek injunctions against employers and unions in federal district courts to stop unfair labor practices where, due to the passage of time, the normal Board processes are likely to be inadequate to effectively remedy the alleged violations.

The petition explains that after learning about the organizing effort, Starbucks directed a wide variety of coercive measures at its employees, including disciplining the employee responsible for starting the campaign; more closely supervising its employees; closing the area of the store on days organizers had previously invited the public and customers to come to show support for the campaign; and removing all pro-union materials from the community bulletin board inside the store, including notes authored by customers expressing support for the employees and their campaign. Then, following increased media coverage and public support for the campaign, Starbucks terminated seven Union activists all on the same day, including five of the six members of the union organizing committee.

The Regional Director is asking the Court to order Starbucks to, among other things, cease and desist from committing unfair labor practices in violation of the Act, and to reinstate the seven former employees who were unlawfully terminated.

"Given Starbucks' egregious conduct interfering with the federally protected rights of its employees, we are asking the Court to swiftly grant the injunction," said Region 15 Regional Director Kathleen McKinney. "Without immediate interim relief from this Court, Starbucks could irreparably harm the campaign in Memphis, and send a chilling message to its employees across the country that they too will suffer the same fate as the terminated Memphis employees if they dare to exercise their right to engage in protected activities. It is crucial that these seven employees be reinstated and that Starbucks cease its unlawful conduct immediately so that all Starbucks workers can fully and freely exercise their labor rights."

Source:  United States National Labor Relations Board

Eswatini garment workers continue strike amid intimidation and harassment

5 May, 2022:   Despite intimidation by security forces, textile and garment workers in Eswatini are continuing their strike for living wages. Five weeks into the strike, the workers are reiterating their request for at least E15 per hour or E2983 (US$183) per month.

The workers determination comes amid attempts to stop the strike through intimidation and harassment by the police and the army. The union says the security forces are going as far as visiting workers homes and demanding that the workers must go back to work or face eviction from their places of residence. According to reports teargas has been fired into some of the residences.

Wander Mkhonza, ATUSWA secretary general says: "Although we are fatigued - it has been a long five weeks - the strike goes on. We will continue to fight with everything within our power as a union until our demands are met. We are only fighting for living wages for our members, and I would like to emphasize that this is a labour dispute between workers and the employer. However, we are shocked by the threats to our members by security forces who are not part of the wage dispute."

Contrary to the action by the security forces, the ministry of labour and social security said in its Workers' Day statement that the government respected the International Labour Organization (ILO) "fundamental principles and rights at work." Earlier the ministry had said the Amalgamated Trade Union of Swaziland (ATUSWA), affiliated to IndustriALL Global Union, should take the grievances to the Textile and Apparel Sector Wages Council which is composed of employers, workers, and the government.

ATUSWA, which is leading the strike, says instead of addressing the wage dispute, the employers are colluding with the Government of Eswatini, which is supposed to be neutral, to intimidate and harass the union and the strikers.

Around 2,000 workers met on 2 May at Nhlangano industrial area - a hub of textile and garment factories - to reaffirm their commitment to the strike action. Some walked for more than 8 km to attend the mass meeting where 30 workers spoke in support of the strike, which they say must continue until their demands for living wages are met.

Paule France Ndessomin, IndustriALL regional secretary for Sub Saharan Africa says: "We support the ATUSWA led strike and the demands for living wages as the cost of living is going up. As per IndustriALL congress resolution we call on the government of Eswatini to respect workers' rights to strike and to collective bargaining. The government must respect the workers human rights and stop the intimidation and harassment.

Source:  IndustriALL Global Union--IndustriALL represents 50 million workers in 140 countries

May Day - May 01, 2022

International Workers Day

PSI May Day Statement: Public Emergency Service workers should be recognised not only in times of Covid and wars

APR 28, 2022:   On this May Day, PSI calls on governments to invest in their people, reject austerity and further cuts to public services and value public emergency service (PES) workers, whom in most cases are denied fundamental rights, whether because of essential services legislation or for being grouped under what is sometimes known as uniformed services, which include firefighters and police.

The world is focusing on the war in Ukraine. Photos and videos of devastation show firefighters and emergency medical technicians scrambling through the wreckage to save lives, even at the risk of their own. Others show health service workers at their jobs, even as the shells destroy hospitals and clinics. However, this is not the only conflict where these workers are at risk; Yemen, Syria, Palestine, are just a few of the many examples where our friends and colleagues put their lives at risk.

Many public emergency service (PES ) workers are denied fundamental rights, whether because of essential services legislation (which includes emergency medical technicians - EMTs ) or being grouped under paramilitary services, sometimes known as uniformed services, which include firefighters and police. This means that these workers are not allowed to negotiate their terms and conditions of work, although in PES it is crucial that workers participate and are able to exercise their full rights.

Many that are called on to perform PES work are untrained, ill-equipped, poorly coordinated. The ILO Guidelines (2018 ) on Decent Work in PES lay out in detail the needs of PES workers. They also point to the risks of relying too heavily on volunteers. But these are non-binding rules that are hardly enforced.

Emergency response is much more than firefighters and EMTs - although these two groups are the most visible, and arguably the best prepared, and perhaps the most at risk. But many other professions should be involved in preparedness and response; most municipal workers need to anticipate, whether to lock down and protect infrastructure (public transport, water and sewerage, energy, internet, data, communications) to coordinate response teams, to receive refugees and displaced people, and to ensure access to essential services in the recovery phase. Health and education workers need to anticipate evacuation. Health workers need to anticipate 24/7 operations during the most intense and dangerous times.

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction also contains government commitments to allocate funds and personnel to anticipating natural and man-made disasters to reduce risks and losses in lives. The climate crisis will cause more frequent and intense weather events such as wildfires, floods, droughts, high winds. And it will be PES and other workers who will deal with them to keep us safe.

We need appropriate public investment to reduce loss of lives and livelihoods, and economic and environmental damage. Austerity and further public cuts are an outdated narrative that in the end turned out to be a fallacy - while governments claim there are no funds to be invested in public services, to raise salaries, to invest in health, they are literally making money rain to finance a war that brings only death and destruction.

On May Day 2022, PSI calls on governments to invest in their people, reject austerity and further cuts to public services, and encourages all affiliates to keep mobilizing for an alternative and sustainable development.

Source:  Public Services International--PSI uniting more than 30 million workers in 154 countries

ITUC May Day 2022: Trade unions stand for peace

With Russia's illegal and brutal invasion of Ukraine, armed conflicts are being fought in every region of the world.

26-04-2022:   Some 60 conflicts are happening now, with millions of victims. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost in Tigray and Yemen alone. In recent years, 25 million people have been forced to become refugees outside their home country, and tens of millions more are displaced internally, the vast majority of them in less wealthy countries.

Peace is at the heart of the ITUC's values, and the absolute rejection of the atrocity of war must drive the achievement of a framework for common security, cemented on the principles of the United Nations. That framework must address the ideological, social and economic causes of conflicts and hold to account those who are responsible for initiating and sustaining wars and for committing war crimes wherever they occur.

As the International Labour Organization's constitution says: "Universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice." There is no greater demonstration of the need for a new social contract than this fact, which was established with the foundation of the ILO over 100 years ago.

Where people are deprived of the economic security of decent work, where workers' rights and other human rights are trampled, where billions of people have no option but to work in the informal economy, where lies and propaganda replace truth, the hope and promise of peace in the world is far from within reach. At a time when global tensions, exacerbated by Putin's war, are high, trade unions, as the largest democratic and representative force on earth, are in the forefront of defending democracy, ensuring rights, avoiding armed conflicts and overcoming the devastating impacts of war on people's lives.

Jobs, rights, wages, social protection, equality, inclusion

On this May Day 2022, we reaffirm our commitment to peace and to the social justice required to ensure it. This must be built on the foundations of the new social contract - jobs, rights, wages, social protection, equality and inclusion. These are the requirements for lasting peace and shared prosperity, for ensuring the just transition the world needs to overcome the climate emergency, and for the resilience needed to manage and overcome global shocks.

We salute the tireless work of our trade union colleagues in conflict areas to deliver humanitarian support, welcome refugees and overcome the causes of conflicts. We also salute the work of those currently living in peaceful circumstances to achieve social justice and thus provide the foundations for common security.

We are determined to change the rules of the global economy that are skewed towards rewarding greed, undervaluing the contribution of people - especially women - at work and in society and enabling autocrats and tyrants to subjugate their own people and people in other countries who are forced to live among the inhuman reality of armed conflict.

The strength of our principles and values is matched by the strength of our organisation and our determination to build workers' power. Every worker who chooses to join a union reinforces that power and adds to our collective strength as a movement that exists to maintain the achievements of union action in past years, and to extend them into the future. That's how we can build and secure peace.

Source:  International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 207 million workers in 163 countries and territories and has 331 national affiliates

USA: NLRB Files in Federal Court Seeking Immediate Reinstatement for Three Starbucks Workers

On April 22, 2022, NLRB Region 28 Regional Director Cornele Overstreet petitioned in United States District Court for injunctive relief for victims of unfair labor practices in three cases involving Starbucks retaliating against members of the union organizing committee. Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act authorizes the National Labor Relations Board to seek injunctions against employers and unions in federal district courts to stop unfair labor practices where, due to the passage of time, the normal Board processes are likely to be inadequate to effectively remedy the alleged violations.

The petition explains that after learning its employees were engaging in protected activity, the Employer swiftly retaliated against three of the four members of the union organizing committee. Among other things, Starbucks disciplined, suspended, and discharged one employee, constructively discharged another, and placed a third on an unpaid leave of absence after revoking recently granted accommodations.

Among other remedies, Regional Director Overstreet is asking the court to immediately reinstate these employees with their usual schedules and accommodations, expunge disciplines from their records, and post, distribute, and read the District Court's Order.

"Employees have the fundamental right to choose whether or not they want to be represented by the union without restraint or coercion by their employer. The faith of Starbucks employees nationwide in workplace democracy will not be restored unless these employees are immediately reinstated under the protection of a federal court order," said Region 28 Regional Director Cornele Overstreet. "Immediate injunctive relief is necessary to ensure that the Employer does not profit nationwide from its illegal conduct, to protect the employees' Section 7 rights, to preserve the Board's remedial power, and to effectuate the will of Congress."

Source:  United States National Labor Relations Board

Belarus: KGB Detains Union Leaders

At least fourteen leaders and officials of the independent trade union movement in Belarus have been detained by the country's security service the KGB.

20-04-2022:   Those detained include Aleksandr Yarashuk, President of the ITUC-affiliated BKDP, BKDP Vice-President Sergey Antusevich, Aleksandr Bukhvostov, President of the Free Trade Union of Metalworkers SPM and Nikolay Sharakh, President of the Free Trade Union of Belarus SPB. The union leaders' residences, as well as union offices, have been subjected to intensive searches including of PCs and other electronic devices, union paraphernalia and even books.

The attacks on the BKDP and its member unions are the latest in a long series of repressive acts. In March, the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association heavily criticised the government over its continued failure to implement key recommendations of a 2004 ILO Commission of Inquiry. A number of the union representatives who have provided testimony to the ILO on Belarus in recent years are amongst those detained. The ITUC is informing the ILO of these latest outrageous developments.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said "these are yet further examples of the sustained anti-union campaign by the Lukashenko regime and appear also to be in reaction to the independent trade unions' bravery in criticising Lukashenko and his government for their active support of Russian President Putin's invasion of Ukraine. We call for their immediate release, the restoration of all the items seized to their rightful owners and an end to the ongoing intimidation and harassment of the BKDP, its leadership and its affiliates."

Source:  International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 207 million workers in 163 countries and territories and has 331 national affiliates

Liberian Health Workers' Union Wins Global Trade Union Award

APR 14, 2022:   PSI affiliate the National Health Workers Union of Liberia and its leader Geroge Poe Williams have won the Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights.

NAHWUL received the award for its bravery in fighting for basic trade union rights for a group of workers who have been particularly vulnerable during the severe pandemics that have hit Liberia in recent years.

During Ebola, health workers had very poor working conditions. Ten percent of the country's health workers lost their lives. While the world has applauded the efforts of health workers' in fighting against Covid-19, in Liberia they have lacked protective equipment, received low wages and their right to organize has been attacked.

The union NAHWUL and their leader Williams have fought for the right to organize and collectively bargain. They saw a strong union as essential to improve the working conditions.

Espen Løken, advisor for Industri Energi and secretary for the prize committee, says that the government of Liberia sees the union's growth as a threat, and Williams and several of the leaders have been fired from their jobs.

After a global campaign, Williams and his colleagues got their jobs back, and NAHWUL was promised a number of improvements and that the union would get the right to bargain. In 2020, the health workers took action, and the authorities threatened to send security forces against them and imprison Williams. Williams was abroad at the time, and has since been in exile. Several government employees and shop stewards have been harassed and killed.

The award of the "Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights" will put pressure on the Liberian authorities to recognize NAHWUL and Williams as representatives of the health workers in the country, with the right to negotiate on behalf of their members. But first, Williams must return safely from exile and have the opportunity to help lead the health workers further.

The award will contribute to NAHWUL's campaign for better health services and better working conditions for health workers in the country. Espen Løken also says that the prize also should be seen as a recognition of health workers around the world. They have had very demanding working conditions during the pandemic. The award ceremony will be in Rockefeller Music Hall, Oslo, 15th of June.

The Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights is presented to a person or organisation that has worked predominately to promote trade union rights and/or strengthen trade union organizing around the world. The prize amount is NOK 500.000.

Source:  Public Services International--PSI uniting more than 30 million workers in 154 countries

USA: NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo Issues Memo on Captive Audience and Other Mandatory Meetings

April 07, 2022:   Today, National Labor Relations Board General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo issued a memorandum to all Field offices announcing that she will ask the Board to find mandatory meetings in which employees are forced to listen to employer speech concerning the exercise of their statutory labor rights, including captive audience meetings, a violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

General Counsel Abruzzo explains that the Board has long-recognized that the Act protects employees' right to listen to-or refrain from listening to-employer speech concerning their rights to act collectively to improve their workplace. Forcing employees to attend captive audience meetings under threat of discipline discourages employees from exercising their right to refrain from listening to this speech and is therefore inconsistent with the NLRA.

The memo explains that years ago the Board incorrectly concluded that an employer does not violate the Act by compelling its employees to attend meetings in which it makes speeches urging them to reject union representation. As a result, employers commonly use explicit or implied threats to force employees into meetings about unionization or other statutorily protected activity.

"This license to coerce is an anomaly in labor law, inconsistent with the Act's protection of employees' free choice. It is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of employers' speech rights," said General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo. "I believe that the NLRB case precedent, which has tolerated such meetings, is at odds with fundamental labor-law principles, our statutory language, and our Congressional mandate. Because of this, I plan to urge the Board to reconsider such precedent and find mandatory meetings of this sort unlawful."

The General Counsel states that she will urge the Board to correct that anomaly and propose they adopt sensible assurances that an employer must convey to employees in order to make clear that their attendance at these meetings is truly voluntary. Such an approach will appropriately protect employers' free-speech rights to express views, arguments, or opinions concerning the employees' exercise of their protected labor rights without unduly infringing on the rights of employees to refrain, or not, from listening to such expressions.

Source:  United States National Labor Relations Board

Put "Our Planet, Our Health" Before Profit: Fund Universal Access to Health and Quality Public Services

APR 07, 2022:   World Health Day (WHD) has been commemorated on 7th April since 1950. The World Health Organization (WHO) utilizes the day to draw attention to public health issues with its chosen theme. In recent years, trade unions and activists have also utilized the day to campaign against the commodification and marketization of health.

The theme of this year's WHD, "Our Planet, Our Health," is quite apt. The health and wellbeing of billions of people and the Earth are in peril.

More than six million people have died from COVID-19, social inequalities increased drastically during the pandemic - 160 million more people were pushed into poverty in 2021, the climate and environmental crises is deepening and we must halve emissions by 2030, and wars continue to claim people's lives and disrupt social life in different parts of the world, including Libya, Syria, Yemen and more recently Ukraine.

We need to take decisive action to safeguard our health and the planet. This means that we must tackle the root causes of our problems. The perilous situation of the world today is the consequence of decades of neoliberal policies and the fact that the same logic has permeated the pandemic response. This must stop; world leaders must be made to demonstrate a concrete commitment to "our planet, our health".

This would require putting our health before the wealth of a handful of corporations and billionaires by:

  • Stopping commercialization and privatization of healthcare. Our health is not for sale : the right to health is a fundamental human right. This right can be realized for all, only with public funding and delivery of health and care.
  • Ensuring that health workers, who enjoy decent work as of right, are available to all. This requires the intensive recruitment, training, equipping, and adequate remuneration of health and care workers to address the global shortage of upwards of 18 million workers in the sector.
  • The suspension of patents on medications, vaccines, and equipment needed to ensure the health and wellbeing of people. World leaders, scientists, and opinion leaders must draw inspiration from Jonas Salk that such patents, like the sun, belong to the people. Thus, we reject the current compromise apology of a TRIPS waiver, and demand full TRIPS waiver on COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, and the inclusion of an automatic trigger of the suspension of patents on pandemic response products, when a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHIEC) is declared.
  • Reform of the global finance architecture and tax system to ensure the availability of resources for low- and middle-income countries to provide universal public health care. We cannot safeguard "Our People" and "Our Health" when $427 billion, an amount that would pay the salaries of 34 million nurses, is lost in corporate tax abuse and private tax evasion each year. International finance institutions must also stop constricting the fiscal policy space of countries with liberalizing conditionalities.
  • Building a radical new economy beyond the constriction of fundamentalist marketization. This requires decisive rapid action and a strategic thrust that can ensure we halt the climate and environmental crises and a more just and inclusive world.

This is possible, as the early moment of the current pandemic shows us. But, beyond rhetoric, world leaders have reverted to a "business as usual" mentality, as demonstrated by vaccine nationalism and support for biopharmaceutical corporations over universal access to COVID-19 technology and medications.

The nascent negotiations process for a pandemic treaty might be a silver lining in the clouds. But governments must be bold in making far-reaching decisions that break from the neoliberal commonsense in this process. And the treaty process must itself be part of broader all-of-society steps to put people and the planet before profit. Another world is still possible, where "Our Planet, Our Health" will flourish. We need to start making that world together now.

Source:  Public Services International--PSI uniting more than 30 million workers in 154 countries

Launch of initiative for a Just Transition in the energy sector

7 April, 2022:   The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), LO Norway and IndustriALL Global Union kick off with a first meeting on 7 April to launch the Initiative for a Just Transition in the energy sector.

121 participants from unions in 32 countries exchanged information at the launch of the Initiative for a Just Transition in the energy sector. Unions expressed strong support for this initiative, seeing it as timely and important to address concerns about progress on a Just Transition in different countries and the lack of union involvement.

"We need a strong labour movement, if we can't manage a Just Transition, then we leave workers stranded. There is a time frame on which the Earth will not repair itself for a stable future if we don't transition. "On the other hand, there are good jobs in energy sources beyond fossil fuel, and we need to organize them. We know that investment in climate action brings jobs, but we need to make sure they're good jobs. And that means organizing," said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

The energy sector plays a critical role in national and regional economies. National and international energy companies have provided millions of organized direct jobs in the past. Energy sector revenues are key for state, regional and national budgets.

LO Norway President Peggy Hessen Folsvik explained that in Norway, the petroleum industry has been one of the most important industries for the past 50 years. It accounts for 22 per cent of the state income and employs over 220,000 workers. "Transitions will be challenging, but not impossible. "Our trade unions support the Paris Agreement, and we understand that jobs might shift sooner rather than later. It is an important task to ensure a Just Transition for the workers in this sector," Folsvik continued.

Political conflicts, growing instability, strategic competition, and security threats have made many countries reassess their energy systems; from importing fossil fuels to speeding up the buildout of all forms of clean energy. Energy security is a critical issue that, combined with climate concerns, is accelerating efforts to develop clean energy with secure and domestic supply chains.

Large countries have plans to invest in clean energy transition technologies, but unions argued that there is no guarantee that a move to these technologies will keep and create good jobs. Participants also made it clear that companies are investing in energy transition unilaterally; workers are left out of the process; and companies are not investing enough to accomplish the commitment set by the Paris Agreement.

Trade unions are not satisfied with efforts by the energy companies so far. Existing collective bargaining, climate target-setting, and responsible business initiatives are not getting enough results in the sector.

Today's launch includes two initiatives; the first one will look at technologies and country examples to get the facts on jobs. Unions and experts will share information on jobs, skills, markets, investments, and emissions for technologies such as hydrogen, CCS, offshore wind and other renewables, alternative fuels, and energy services. With the second initiative, the ITUC, LO Norway and IndustriALL plan to explore the potential for a new, tripartite process anchored in the UN and focused on Just Transition in the energy sector, starting with oil and gas. The initiative would help get and enforce global decent jobs and Just Transition agreements between oil and gas companies and trade unions. If successful, global unions plan to expand to include other energy and industrial companies.

"One of the aims of the partnership launched today is to develop Just Transition agreements with multinational corporations under the auspices of the United Nations. These can become powerful tools for energy workers of the world. Trade unions need a seat at the table and society should recognize the need for trade unions at this table. I really look forward to seeing how far this initiative can take us," said Atle Hoie, IndustriALL general secretary.

Source:  IndustriALL Global Union--IndustriALL represents 50 million workers in 140 countries

Jordan: The harassment against union leaders and members must stop immediately

1 April 2022:   Education International has strongly reiterated its condemnation of the acts of harassment against the Jordanian Teachers Association (JTA), its leaders and members. It deplores the criminalisation of legitimate trade union activities including marches and demonstrations.

Ruthless and ongoing arrests and detentions of education unionists

Reacting to the most recent violation of the trade union rights of educators, i.e., the arrest and detention of 163 JTA unionised teachers and board members - whose identities he also got - on 29 March, Education International's General Secretary David Edwards highlighted that these unionists were arrested while protesting in front of the Education Ministry. The syndicate had planned a sit-in to protest the restrictions placed by the government on JTA and its members since 2020.

In his letter to the Jordanian Prime Minister dated 31 March, he also reminded that the 150,000-strong teacher labour organisation JTA was illegally shut down in July 2020 and dissolved on 31 December 2020 by the Amman magistrate court. On 29 September 2021, the Jordanian Attorney General rejected the appeal filed by the JTA against the union dissolution and one-year imprisonment of all 14 JTA board members.

Quality education correlated to respect for teachers' human and trade union rights

He went on to deeply regret that leading members of the JTA continue to be regularly arrested and detained, as was the case in connection with World Teachers Day celebrations, when they objected to the unilateral change of the employment regulations for civil servants to ease the termination of teachers' employment without compensation and force teachers to retire early.

"I call once more on the Jordanian authorities to stop the harassment of the JTA and to confirm the right of all teachers in Jordan to join the union of their choice and to express opinions on education policy," Edwards wrote, highlighting that "a teaching force that is supported with fair working conditions and the right to organise and manage its affairs is one that can provide quality education for all children".

Report to the International Labour Organization

Education International has reported to the International Labour Organization on this serious issue, stressing that "despite the constitution of Jordan guaranteeing the right to assembly, free speech and protest, heavy-handed approaches to protests and dissent are common, particularly through crackdowns on the teachers' syndicate".

It will continue to stand in solidarity with its sister organisations in Jordan and closely monitor the human and trade union rights situation in the country, Edwards ensured.

Source:  Education International--EI uniting 32.5 million members in 391 organizations in 170 countries and territories

Guatemala: death threats against union leader and family

The ITUC is calling on the government of Guatemala to provide immediate protection to trade union leader Carlos Mancilla and his family following a series of death threats.

01-04-2022:   On March 31, Mr Mancilla and his family members received anonymous phone calls warning that they were being watched and mentioning each person in his family by name. The callers sent a photo of Mr Mancilla's house and said that they had followed his daughter but held back from killing her.

Mr Mancilla is general secretary of trade union centre CUS-G, president of Guatemala's Tripartite Commission on Labor Relations and Freedom of Association and a titular member of the ITUC General Council.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: "The threats to Carlos and his family are real. Their lives are in danger and the government must act to protect them and to identify the people behind the threats and bring them to justice. "These events take place in the context of increasing insecurity and attacks on the union movement in Guatemala, in addition to an explosion of unresolved labour disputes and a campaign to discredit and stigmatise workers' representatives in the Tripartite Commission."

Safety and freedom

Between 2012 and 2018, the International Labour Organization (ILO) considered establishing a Commission of Inquiry to investigate serious abuses of freedom of association, including threats and assassinations of trade unionists, in Guatemala. The ILO Governing Body decided not to proceed after the Government of Guatemala committed to a roadmap for reform and established the Tripartite Commission.

The ITUC calls on the Guatemalan government to:

  • Urgently implement all necessary measures to ensure the physical integrity and safety of Carlos Mancilla and his family;
  • Carry out an immediate, impartial and credible investigation into the death threats, and bring those responsible to justice in accordance with international labour standards and human rights law;
  • Guarantee that Guatemala's trade union leaders can carry out their legitimate activities without fear of reprisals and free from all restrictions; and
  • Immediately cease the campaign to discredit and delegitimise the current workers' delegates to the Tripartite Commission on Labor Relations and Union Freedom.

Source:  International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 207 million workers in 163 countries and territories and has 331 national affiliates

10,000 transport workers call for immediate reinstatement of illegally sacked P&O seafarers

29 Mar 2022:   Over 10,000 transport workers from almost 200 ITF affiliated unions today expressed their outrage at the mass sacking and outsourcing of 800 P&O seafarers through a 'Global Letter of Protest' handed over to the global leadership of DP World, the owners of P&O Ferries.

ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton, who is leading the global unions' delegation in Dubai, delivered the letter addressed to the CEO of DP World, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem calling for the reinstatement of the sacked seafarers and a commitment to respect workers' rights and engage with unions across their global operations. "Over the past two weeks, we've seen protests at P&O ports from Dover to Hull, and across Europe from Dublin to Rotterdam in solidarity with these workers," said Cotton. "Today we took the shock and condemnation of the world's transport workers and their supporters directly to the global headquarters of DP World."

In the face of brutal corporate decision making, transport workers and their unions across the world have stood up and are uniting to fight back for justice and respect for the critical role they play in global supply chains.

"Transport employers across the world should watch this dispute carefully," said Cotton. "This fight that is playing out across the ports of the UK, is not just about the illegal firing of 800 seafarers, but a fight about respect and the future of the rights of seafarers globally. It is not something that the ITF, the ETF, and our affiliates take lightly."

The staggering admission from P&O CEO Peter Hebblethwaite that the company acted illegally when firing these workers, should be cause for the immediate reinstatement of these workers.

"The fact that despite admitting to their illegality, P&O and its owner DP World, can continue to refuse to reinstate these workers, and even say they'd do it again, should send alarm bells ringing for governments across Europe, but also everywhere DP World operates," said ETF General Secretary Livia Spera. "If governments cannot protect their people and hold corporations accountable, it raises serious questions about who is in charge," she added.

The letter demanded that DP World treat these workers with dignity, respect the laws that protect their rights, and:

  • Urgently convene a meeting with the two unions, Nautilus International and the RMT, together with the UK Government, to rectify the current situation.
  • Guarantee that this will not happen in any other DP World wholly owned subsidiary and that you will uphold your ESG commitment to the principles of the UN Global Compact and behave equitably and show respect to all workers in your supply chain.
  • Commit to social dialogue, respectful industrial relations and to develop a closer relationship with the ITF and our affiliates across all DP World owned subsidiaries that ensures that no worker has to ever endure being sacked via Zoom again.

Source:  International Transport Workers Federation--ITF representing 20 million members from 150 countries

ITUC warns of devasting impacts of Putin's war beyond the borders of Ukraine and Russia

The ITUC condemns Vladimir Putin's war on Ukraine and calls for peace, democracy and dialogue.

25-03-2022:   The war is causing untold human suffering and destruction. More than 3.5 million people have fled the country in less than a month, bringing the total number of refugees in the world to nearly 25 million.

The ITUC salutes the humanitarian work of its Ukrainian affiliates and the work of unions in neighbouring countries to welcome refugees and help meet their needs. The priority must be an immediate Russian ceasefire and withdrawal of all Russian forces from Ukraine with the negotiation of a just and durable peace. The needs of the people of Ukraine and the reconstruction of the country will be enormous.

Global impacts

Beyond Russia and Ukraine, Putin's invasion is having global geopolitical and economic consequences and has exposed weaknesses in the multilateral system. The ITUC is emphasising the following global impacts as a result of the invasion that require urgent action:

  • A worsening global jobs' crisis: Dependence on Russian oil and gas exports means that energy costs around the world will increase even further and scarcity of some other products will impact global supply chains in a range of areas, putting jobs at risk. Employment levels have still not returned even to pre-pandemic levels - in 2021 there were 13 million fewer women in formal employment compared to 2019.
  • Squeeze on households: Both Russia and Ukraine are major exporters of grain. Various countries are heavily dependent on their exports of wheat, maize, other crops and cooking oil. The rising cost of energy and food, with a cost-of-living crisis already existing in many countries prior to the invasion, will intensify as global supply chain disruption in these and other commodities from the region add to the pressure on households already struggling because of low wages.
  • Rising insecurity: The new war in Europe and the failure to keep peace in Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East have exposed the need for an effective global framework for common security.
  • Diversion of finance: An increase in global military expenditure, currently around US$2 trillion a year, will divert vital finance away from crucial economic and social needs and the funding of climate action.
  • Corporate greed: Just four commodity trading companies, which control most of the world's trade in grain, made record profits last year as economies began to open up during the COVID-19 pandemic. With profiteering by energy companies as well, corporate greed must be not be allowed to cause even more insecurity and poverty.
  • A growing global refugee crisis: Refugee numbers in the world are increasing, with the total number nearing 25 million and tens of millions more displaced within their own countries.

"Governments need to act to stop profit-gouging from this crisis and, with the international financial Institutions, take urgent steps to extend social protection to the millions upon millions of people around the world who face hunger, even starvation, unaffordable energy prices and shortages of key supplies such as fertilizer.

"There are also growing concerns that much-needed aid to Ukraine will be at least partly taken from official development assistance intended for some of the world's least wealthy countries.

"Putin's invasion is a nightmare for those who face the daily reality of bullets, bombs and rockets, and it will have extremely damaging consequences worldwide, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable. "Urgent action is needed and lessons about fossil fuel dependency, diversity in global supply chains and the other fault lines revealed by this war, including the absence of a multilateral framework for common security, must be learned and applied.

"Many governments implemented emergency measures at the start of the pandemic, which helped keep many out of poverty and kept economies afloat. Now, with the global impact of Putin's was and with inflation increasing, protecting workers' wages will be vital, as will be the creation of decent jobs. "Governments will need to consider pricing policies and responses to the economic impacts of this war will need to focus particularly on those most in need," said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

Source:  International Trade Union Confederation--ITUC represents 207 million workers in 163 countries and territories and has 331 national affiliates

Trade union harassment continues in Belarus

23 March, 2022:   The situation for trade unions in Belarus continues to deteriorate with union offices being searched and union leaders detained by the police.

On 21 March, the union office at oil company Naftan was searched and turned upside down. Equipment, including union computers, documentation and union flags were seized by the police.

Union activist Nina Barysava was detained for a night, her home was searched and her phone was taken by the police. The apartment of Gennadz Vorona, BITU vice-chair at Naftan, was also searched. Volha Brytsikava, chair of BITU at Naftan, is in prison after receiving three terms of 15 days arrest for his anti-war position.

According to reports, the searches and arrests are carried out by the police to scare the union into disclosing the lists of remaining members at Naftan, as demanded by the prosecutor's office.

Last month also saw police cracking down on trade unions. 67-year old Aleksandr Yevdokimchik, deputy head of IndustriALL affiliate SPM, was detained on 24 February when he came to work in the union office. At a trial four days later, Yevdokimchik was convicted for hooliganism, allegedly committed at the police station, and spent 17 days in jail.

Says IndustriALL general secretary Atle Høie: "As long as the brutal harassment of trade unions continues, IndustriALL will continue to fight for our unions. The violations must stop and Belarus must respect the obligations of ILO Convention 87, which the government has ratified."

Source:  IndustriALL Global Union--IndustriALL represents 50 million workers in 140 countries

Cambodia: Union leaders released from jail as IUF fights on with ILO complaint

23/03/2022:   All 11 union leaders and activists at the NagaWorld Casino hotel have been released from jail on bail, as international pressure continues to mount on the government of Cambodia to respect workers' rights to organize and collectively bargain. With the criminal charges still hanging over the 11 union leaders and activists and with no progress on the reinstatement of the 365 terminated workers or with collective bargaining rights, the IUF has filed a complaint against the government of Cambodia with the International Labour Organisation's Committee on Freedom of Association (CFA) detailing numerous violations of workers' fundamental rights.

  • The IUF's ILO complaint arrives as the ILO prepares a direct contacts mission (DCM) to Cambodia next week and calls on the Cambodian government to address violations of ILO Conventions Nos 87 and 98, to unconditionally withdraw all outstanding charges against the trade union leaders and activists and to grant LRSU full recognition
  • In a blatant effort to prevent recognition of IUF affiliate LRSU, NagaWorld management and the Cambodian government have conspired to fast-track certification of a new fake union in order to avoid negotiating with the legitimate representative of the workers
  • LRSU continues to call for negotiations on reinstatement of 365 unfairly terminated members and good faith collective bargaining negotiations

IUF Asia/Pacific Regional Secretary Hidayat Greenfield stated, "LRSU has once again made it clear that it seeks good faith negotiations with NagaWorld to secure the reinstatement of the unfairly terminated union members and for those opting to accept redundancy, to receive their full legal entitlement to separation pay. At the same time, the international community must make it clear that all charges against the arrested union leaders must be dropped and comprehensive legal reforms must protect trade union rights and prevent criminalization of trade union activities."

Source:   International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations--IUF uniting 10 million workers in 423 affiliated organizations in 127 countries

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