Workers in the United States and around the world are confronting multiple shared crises, and only together, as front-line defenders of democracy, through urgent and collective responses, will we overcome them. The neoliberal economic model, and the corporations and politicians who have promoted it, has driven us to the point of collapse: a global climate crisis and societies that are being pulled apart by runaway inequality, racism, sexism, xenophobia, LGBTQ+ discrimination and other corrosive forms of division. As wars and disease rage across the planet, workers most acutely suffer the consequences, particularly those workers who already have been marginalized in our global economy.
To address these crises, workers need a new social contract that rebuilds trust in democratic institutions by delivering real results and laying the foundation for a global economy based on equity, shared prosperity, democracy and respect for workers’ rights and the environment.
This is not a time for despair, but rather a time for radical hope. The building blocks of our vision for a worker-centered global economic model must ensure that all workers enjoy living wages; freedom of association and collective bargaining; family care and leave; and social protections when they are sick, injured, unemployed or retired.
A worker-centered model means that labor rights consistent with international norms are respected, protected and effectively enforced, including the right to form or join a union and to bargain collectively, both within and across national borders. These goals only can be achieved by building stronger unions and forming broad alliances with like-minded movements and organizations around the world.
As the largest democratic force in global civil society, unions play a critical role to promote and defend democracy. Together, we must make sure that every person has dignity, economic security and the right to participate democratically—in the workplace, in our communities and in our countries.
The AFL-CIO commits to take the following action steps:
• Promote a worker-centered trade and investment policy agenda grounded in respect for International Labor Organization (ILO) core labor standards backed up by effective enforcement mechanisms, such as the Rapid Response Mechanism contained in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
• Support corporate campaigns and initiatives that result in strong and enforceable worker rights standards in global supply chains, including the clean energy supply chain.
• Stand with workers in countries where worker rights and democracy are threatened.
• Advocate for the effective implementation, monitoring and enforcement of existing and new models of binding corporate accountability that facilitate local and transnational bargaining initiatives in global supply chains.
• Advocate for and promote a pro-worker rights agenda, including the need for a new social contract for all workers, in multilateral, regional, global and sectoral forums and institutions, including but not limited to the ILO, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization and international financial institutions.
• Bring international support to organizing campaigns and strengthen efforts to remove real and practical barriers to organizing for all workers, including migrants and those in the informal economy.
• Advocate for investments in quality public services, including the care economy, fair taxation, gender and racial equity, increased humanitarian resettlement, and frameworks for addressing the impacts of climate change and ensuring the digital economy and new technologies benefit workers and their communities.
• Advocate with global union partners to ensure governments regulate the labor market to prevent the misclassification of workers as independent contractors and guarantee that workers in platform and other digitally mediated and technology employment have enforceable worker rights protections, specifically the right to organize and collectively bargain.
• Work for effective implementation of the ILO’s fundamental worker rights.