International Labor Affairs

Internationally recognized labor standards establish that workers everywhere, regardless of income or status, are entitled to certain universal rights. Worker rights are a core U.S. value and the foundation for durable democracies, sustained prosperity, and inclusive economic growth. The continuing global economic crisis and recent political events have created new space for promoting labor rights. To avoid a global race to the bottom on wages, working conditions and social protections, the U.S. must help amplify the voice of labor organizations, women, informal sector workers and vulnerable populations.

Supporting workers – the backbone of a nation’s middle class – is not only essential to a nation’s economy, but also its democracy. At the U.S. Department of State, the Office of International Labor Affairs promotes internationally recognized labor rights with a particular focus on freedom of association, collective bargaining, eliminating forced labor and the worst forms of child labor, and fighting impermissible forms of discrimination.

The U.S. Government works to incorporate labor issues into multilateral economic fora, including the G-20, and to address labor issues in the Generalized System of Preferences and in bilateral trade agreements. We also partner with foreign governments to advance collaborative and innovative approaches to technical assistance.

Labor Officers in U.S. overseas missions play an integral role in advancing worker rights and helping the U.S. government to understand and respond to rapidly changing labor market conditions across the world. Labor Officers’ reporting and expertise helps inform U.S. policy on a wide range of issues from development assistance to trade agreements.

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Disclaimer: The Office of Policy Planning and Public Diplomacy, in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, of the U.S. Department of State manages this site as a portal for international human rights related information from the United States Government. External links to other internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views or privacy policies contained therein.