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‘The Nobel Prize is for Labor Movements Around the World’

AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler welcomed UGTT Secretary-General Houcine Abassi in a ceremony honoring his work. Credit: Solidarity Center/Kate Conradt

The Tunisian General Labor Union (Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail, UGTT), a longtime Solidarity Center partner, was at the forefront of the four organizations that recently won the Nobel Peace Prize, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler said today. In a ceremony at the AFL-CIO honoring UGTT Secretary-General Houcine Abassi, Shuler praised Abassi’s courage and tenacity and called the UGTT’s work “inspirational to us in the United States.”

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Labor Law Reforms in Qatar Fall Short; Migrant Workers Still Vulnerable to Forced Labor

Photo courtesy Juanedc on Flickr

After over a year of anticipation, the government of Qatar last week unveiled its highly touted labor law reforms. While labor rights activists had hoped the reforms might begin to address the widespread abuse of migrant workers and the prevalence of forced labor in Qatar’s massive infrastructure projects, not surprisingly, they fell far short of bringing the labor code in line with international norms. As Qatar is set to host the 2022 World Cup, and 700,000 more migrant workers have been recruited to develop the country at breakneck speed, the lives of thousands of workers could be on the line.

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Swazi Union Receives 2015 AFL-CIO Human Rights Award

Swazi Union Receives 2015 AFL-CIO Human Rights Award

Over the past year, Swazi workers have not been deterred from taking part in union meetings even though the gatherings were repeatedly broken up by police. They turned out in large numbers for the annual May Day rally, although they were threatened with arrest if they did so. And they took all these actions in an environment in which unions were banned and free speech squelched.

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5 Things You Should Know About the Labor Movement in Swaziland

This week, the AFL-CIO will award the annual George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award to the Trade Union Confederation of Swaziland (TUCOSWA). Created in 1980 and named for the first two presidents of the AFL-CIO, the award recognizes outstanding examples of the international struggle for human rights through trade unions. We don’t blame you for not knowing much about current events in Swaziland—it is one of the smallest countries in Africa, landlocked between South Africa and Mozambique—but you really should take a moment to learn about how Swazi unions are leading a heroic struggle for democracy in their country against incredible odds.

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A Time to Reflect on U.S. Role in Chinese Workers’ Exploitation

A Time to Reflect on U.S. Role in Chinese Workers’ Exploitation

The visit to Seattle by Chinese President Xi Jinping is a historic moment. Xi is known for his crackdown on corruption in the government and for opening up Chinese markets. Certainly, the discussions with business roundtable leaders here are geared toward creating more market opportunities in the country with the world’s largest population.

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Has Free Trade with Peru Weakened the Rights of Working People?

This week, the U.S. ambassador to Peru, Brian A. Nichols, discussed the impact of the U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in an interview but failed to acknowledge that the increase in exports from Peru to the United States has not created decent work opportunities for Peruvian workers. Increased production has not resulted in higher wages, respect on the job or greater social mobility; instead, export industries have been characterized by poverty wages and rampant labor rights violations.

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