2018 Labor Rights Defenders Awards


Wednesday, May 9, 2018 - 5:30pm to Wednesday, September 28, 2022 - 2:04am


Studio Theatre
1501 14th St. NW
Washington, DC 20005

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Meet the 2018 Labor Rights Defenders
Center for Alliance of Labor and Human Rights (CENTRAL) - As repressive actions by an anti-democratic government target human rights defenders CENTRAL has been a powerful force leading Cambodian working people to demand transparent and accountable governance for labor and human rights. Tola Mouen, CENTRAL’s Director is frequently a target of recriminations meant to undermine CENTRAL’s work that has included providing training to workers, largely women in the garment industry, on freedom of association, social movement unionism, and peaceful demonstration. CENTRAL’s determination to advance collective bargaining for increased wages, better working conditions, and provision of relevant public services and policies has benefited hundreds of thousands of garment workers. Over the past two years, CENTRAL staff have also implemented a Protection Unit that has represented more than 3,500 union leaders illegally dismissed from work and more than 100 union leaders criminalized for their union activities. Further, CENTRAL staff has provided legal aid to more than 2,000 labor disputes for the benefit of more than 150,000 marginalized Cambodian workers. CENTRAL’s unwavering humanity, courageous work, and personal vision to “live with human dignity and in peace as masters of their country” cements their place as 2018’s Labor Rights Defender Awardees.

UNITE HERE and their Hands Off, Pants On Campaign – Pushing forward a movement where women and people of color working in airports, food service, hotels, and transportation are unified in demanding greater equality and opportunity can be incredibly tough to manage. Yet, UNITE HERE is a model union rallying their workers to motivate and advocate for each other’s rights. Today, UNITE HERE housekeepers in Las Vegas earn around $10,000 a year more than non-union counterparts. Union members pay $50 or less in monthly premiums to cover their entire families. Brave stories of UNITE HERE’s women workers enduring widespread sexual harassment in Chicago’s hospitality industry caught the attention of the media and they were among the women featured in Time’s 2017 Person of the Year. UNITE HERE members have now successfully driven their “Hands Off, Pants On” ordinance in Chicago establishing protections for housekeepers, room service servers, bartenders, and waitresses. Thanks to 2018 Labor Rights Defender UNITE HERE, the imbalance of power in sexual harassment is changing and a new, more just workplace is finally helping women in the hospitality industry have agency and safety. ¡Sí se puede! 

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) – Representative DeLauro’s staunch determination to improve the lives of not only Connecticut’s 3rd congressional district but also the rest of the country befittingly places her as a 2018 Labor Rights Defender. At the core of Rep. DeLauro’s work is her fight for America’s working families. She has fought to stop trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and protected the rights of employees and unions. She has used her power to demand an increase in the U.S. minimum wage, that all employees have access to paid sick days, paid family and medical leave, and equal pay for equal work. Every day, Rep. DeLauro fights for legislation that would give all working families an opportunity to succeed. Her efforts to advance the Paycheck Fairness Act and the Bipartisan Apprenticeship Bill exemplify her persistence in improving workers’ lives. Undeniably, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro is a true Labor Rights Defender!

Quietly, over the past four decades, Mary Ann Stein has played an immeasurable role in hundreds and thousands of peoples’ lives in the D.C. metropolitan area, nationally, and internationally. Her personal support for and advocacy on behalf of countless social justice and human rights organizations exemplifies her resolve to improve children and families lives and most importantly create spaces where women are leading the change they want to see. Ms. Stein began her career fighting for civil rights as an organizer in South Carolina in the 1960s. Her experiences, during that period, helped to shape the values and priorities of the Moriah Fund and her life’s work as an advocate for equality and racial justice promoting agency and a place at the table for those who are disenfranchised. Mary Ann has chaired numerous committees, coalitions, and mayoral advisory commissions including serving as the Founding Chair of the Fund for Global Human Rights, a D.C. Judicial Nominations Commissioner, and as a Board member of Americans for Peace Now. She is a member of the Human Rights First Board of Advocates, the Advisory Board of the Center for Victims of Torture, serves on the board of the Israel Center for Educational Innovation, and is a long-time Board member and former Chair of the New Israel Fund.  This year, ILRF is giving a special recognition award to Mary Ann Stein in honor of her work as a Social Justice Movement Builder.

Special thanks to the 2018 Labor Rights Defenders Awards Sponsors:

Leadership Circle Sponsors
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
L Brands Foundation
Visionary Sponsors
Communications Workers of America
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Guardian Sponsors
American Federation of Teachers
Ethix Merch
GlobalWorks Foundation
Kresge Foundation
Laborers' International Union of North America
Linda Lipsett & Jules Bernstein
United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America
United Steelworkers
Advocate Sponsors 
Amalgamated Transit Union
Eileen Fisher
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Joe Eldridge and Maria Otero
Markley Roberts
The Moriah Fund
United Food and Commercial Workers
Defender Sponsors
American Eagle Outftters
American Postal Workers Union
Cameron Duncan
Cleary, Josem & Trigiani LLP
Cohen Millstein Sellers Toll PLLC
David Holiday
DC Labor Fest
Democracy Partners
Divine Chocolate
Elizabeth Colton
Eric Dirnbach
Fair Trade America
Fontheim International
Friends of George Miller PAC
Fruit of the Loom
Horizon Actuarial Services, LLC
International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers
Julie Burton & Roger Hickey
Kim Bobo
Levi Strauss & Co.
Mark Harrison
Miller, Kaplan, Arase & Co.
National Consumers League
National Nurses United
Peter B. Gearhart
Segal Marco Advisors
Solidarity Center
Sorini Samet Associates LLC
Studio Theatre
Rachel Neild
United Methodist Women
United Mine Workers of America
Zenith American Solutions
2018 Honorary Committee:
Sen. Sherrod Brown
Sen. Ben Cardin
Rep. Rosa DeLauro
Rep. Pramila Jayapal
Rep. Marcy Kaptur
Rep. Sander Levin
Rep. James McGovern
Rep. Jamie Raskin
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard
Rep. Jan Schakowsky
Sen. Chuck Schumer
Rep. Jackie Speier
Sen. Chris Van Hollen
Sen. Elizabeth Warren 
2018 Host Committee:
Tim Beaty
Medea Benjamin
Julie Burton
Joe Eldridge
Claude G. Fontheim
Sam Fried
Agnieszka Fryszman
Stan Gacek
Owen Herrnstadt
Dr. Lorretta Johnson
George Miller
Yvette Pena-O'Sullivan
Markley Roberts
Ashwini Sukthankar