World Day for Decent Work is commemorated each year by millions of working people around the world. Today on farms and in factories – in cities and small villages – people who work hard every day mobilize for good jobs, basic rights, and social protection in their societies. Decent work gives dignity to people’s lives, and it underpins more broadly shared prosperity in the global economy. As Special Representative for International Labor Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, I work to strengthen respect for worker rights, improve workplace conditions, contribute to sustainable livelihoods, and engage with workers and their organizations across the world.
This week in the Dominican Republic at the Ministerial meeting of the Pathways for Prosperity program, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton discussed the importance of global economic growth, but noted: “I don’t want us ever to forget that growth is not the end in and of itself. It is to lift millions of people, to improve their lives, to give their children better futures…My question is: Will that growth include more and more people? Will that prosperity reach down into the middle class and the poor? Will more families realize their own dreams?”
In that spirit, on this World Day for Decent Work, we are convening the first meeting of the Labor Working Group of Secretary Clinton’s Strategic Dialogue with Civil Society. The working group consists of leaders from worker organizations, NGOs, the International Labor Organization, and some of the world’s leading experts on the crucial issues facing workers across the world. Over the next year, the group will offer policy recommendations for better incorporating the concerns of working people in U.S. foreign policy, including advice on promoting equality of opportunity and economic inclusion for young people, women, vulnerable workers, migrants, and the hundreds of millions of people working in the informal economy in countries across the world.
This year’s World Day of Decent Work comes as millions of workers worldwide continue to face enormous challenges of finding employment and decent work. We hope that our discussions with civil society and our broader initiatives to promote labor diplomacy and worker rights can make substantive contributions to improving the lives of working families everywhere.