International Labor Organization Overview
The International Labor Organization (ILO) is an agency of the United Nations (UN) that works to address worker issues on a global scale. Established in 1919, the ILO has established a total of 188 conventions which address issues such as wages, safety, equality, forced labor and child labor around the world. In addition to setting international labor standards, the ILO also empowers workers through a variety of projects, from training to campaigns and research.
Each of ILRF's campaigns is aligned with one or more ILO Conventions:
In 1998, the ILO issued the Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, which established a set of core labor standards based around four central areas: freedom of association, forced labor, discrimination, and child labor. These fundamental rights concentrate specifically on the most at-risk demographics in the world: women, children, and impoverished communities, and are designed to assure that basic human rights are upheld in the workplace. The Fundamental Principles provide the foundation for many projects of the International Labor Rights Forum. ILRF campaigns are designed to bring attention to upholding ILO conventions, often focusing on specific country or product based initiatives.
The Rights for Working Women Campaign seeks to promote equality in the workplace for female workers and bases its work on ILO conventions against discrimination in the workplace. The campaign to Stop Child Labor ties in with fundamental principles and conventions against child and forced labor. Likewise, the ILRF Freedom at Work campaign supports fundamental conventions that protect labor organizing and the right to unionize.
These core standards are a key piece of the Decent Work Agenda, which promotes “opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work, in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity,” according to ILO Director-General Juan Somavia. The ILRF Creating a Sweatfree World Campaign encompasses the goals of the Decent Work Agenda, working on the broad scope of worker-related issues and way to improve lives across the globe.
The International Labor Rights Forum shares the ILO vision of bringing a common set of labor standards to workers all over the world. Additionally, ILRF has worked in conjunction with the ILO on a number of initiatives to guarantee fair and equal treatment of workers.