Freedom at Work toolkit launched for Labor Day

According to the International Trade Union Confederation’s Annual Survey, at least 76 labor activists were killed as a result of their actions to defend workers’ rights worldwide in 2008 alone.  Thousands of workers were physically and verbally harassed, arrested and abducted for their involvement with unions and millions more are in precarious, temporary positions to which they have no right unionize at all. In Colombia, the world's most dangerous place to organize a union, U.S. corporations continue to remain complicit in the murders of their own workers. Just last week, another Nestle worker (12 Nestle workers in Colombia have been killed) was shot in his home by paramilitaries bringing Colombia's union murder rate to 25 since January, despite the Colombian governments' claim that it is taking measures to protect unionists. Across the globe, Lipton tea workers in Pakistan are nearly ALL contracted on a temporary basis through employment agencies, completely denying them the right to join which might help them to increase their measly wage of three dollars a day. These and other examples are profiled in the toolkit. Take here action to demand that these corporations and others respects workers rights to organize.

The Freedom at Work toolkit is designed for audiences that may not be familiar with the global labor movement and organizing struggles.   The first section outlines why defending the right to organize is can provide a solution to countless other issues. Organizing can empower women, end trafficking, curb forced and child labor, defend the rights of migrants and protect consumers, according to the guide. The second section explains why worker rights are an essential component of human rights. The last section presents a series of case studies of violations of the right to organize from around the world. These case studies also include success stories of workers who have joined together despite facing many barriers. Finally, you will find a glossary, a web resource guide and a “what you can do” section that will allow you to translate what you have learned into concrete action to support of workers. Please take a step to think about Labor Day in a global sense this Monday and share the Freedom at Work toolkit with friends, family, students, co-workers and community members.