Excluded Workers Unite to Expand the Human Right to Organize
Report Introduced on International Human Rights Day
At a time when Republicans in several states are threatening to eliminate the right of workers to organize and collectively bargain, representatives from 9 different sectors release “Unity for Dignity: Expanding the Right to Organize to Win Human Rights at Work," a report highlighting ongoing efforts to dramatically expand workers’ human right to organize and collectively bargain. The report is being launched around the country, including in San Francisco, New York and Birmingham, Alabama symbolically on December 10th, International Human Rights Day, in order to re-frame the struggle to expand the right-to-organize as a human right.
The Excluded Workers Congress and the report highlight workers who have historically been excluded from labor protections, the right to organize, and underrepresented in the labor movement - domestic workers, farmworkers, taxi drivers, restaurant workers, day laborers, guestworkers, workers from Southern “right to work” states, workfare workers and formerly incarcerated workers.
Jobs with Justice has played an active role both nationally and within coalitions from Florida, DC and Tennessee—helping to connect the creation of the Excluded Workers Congress to the necessity of building and strengthening the labor movement in the US and beyond. Organizing within these sectors has already strengthened the unity and struggle to expand workers’ right to organize and collectively bargain in just the past few years alone.
“We know that the National Labor Relations Act was the result of a strong labor movement fighting for rights, and was not the beginning of that movement,” said Tom Anderson, president of the United Campus Workers in Tennessee. “The men and women of the early unions organized because they knew the only way to win fair treatment and to protect their rights was by banding together to show management that a united workforce would not accept unfair treatment, low wages, and unsafe work conditions.”
In addition to highlighting specific stories of workers, the report discusses ongoing campaigns of the different organizations of the Excluded Workers Congress, and innovative strategies to expand the right-to-organize in the United States, including the fight to win collective bargaining rights for domestic workers and the campaign for the POWER Act, which would protect immigrant workers from employer retaliation if they file a labor complaint. “Unity for Dignity” lays out a vision for an expanded labor movement, including collaboration between sectors, traditional trade unions, worker centers, and international partners.
“Expanding the workers’ right to organize and collectively bargain in existing and new jobs is a key factor in guaranteeing a real economic recovery,” said Sarita Gupta, executive director of Jobs with Justice. “When working families have the means to live a dignified life, the economy as a whole will benefit.”
To learn more visit www.excludedworkers.org.