Labor Rights Worker Rights poster, courtesy of Solidarity Center

Published on September 6th, 2011 | by Editor


Special Representative Barbara Shailor: Labor Rights are Universal Human Rights

On Labor Day, September 5, 2011, Barbara Shailor, Special Representative for Labor Affairs at the US Department of State, delivered an address highlighting the universal value of labor rights, because “labor rights are universal human rights.”

Worker Rights poster, courtesy of Solidarity Center

Today, American families are gathering in big cities and small towns across our country to celebrate the Labor Day weekend. This is a great American tradition going back over a century.

But as families gather together to go to cook-outs, parades and barbecues, they do recognize more than ever that a crisis in one country is in fact felt on the factory floor all across the world In countries as diverse and different from one another as anyone could possibly imagine. The aspiration for dignity at work is really a universal value. I can always remember talking with young women listening to how excited they were when they got there first jobs in factories in Cambodia. They went to work, they elected their leaders, they have great hope and aspirations for their future.

So today we take the time to pause again, to honor these universal values to continue to work to end forced labor and child labor and discrimination at work recognizing the basic rights of working people to organize and bargain in a peaceful and civil way, and these are not just labor rights, these human rights, and we honor them today.

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