Excellent article! The labor climate here is lousy and that is stating it gently.

While the United States has supported pro-worker policies abroad, its domestic policy stands in sharp contrast, said a UN Special Rapporteur as he wrapped up his mission to the US. We at the International Centre for Trade Union Rights have found much to concur with that assessment.

Maina Kiai – the former UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association – catalogued rights violations in his final report of his official mission to the United States in 2016.

Amongst the violations noted was the fact that workers face numerous obstacles in trying to exercise their fundamental rights to organise, collectively bargain and to strike in the US. In the May report, Kiai describes both the “legal framework and the practical reality” of exercising these rights as ‘dismal’.

It is perhaps a little ironic then that (as the Special Rapporteur points out) the US government has tried to position itself as a champion of workers’ rights internationally. Kiai’s report recalls approvingly that the US played a “leading role in defeating efforts at the ILO to roll back the right to strike’’. Indeed, the US has ploughed large amounts of money into labour rights programmes in other countries.

Contrary to this international policy, respect for trade union rights inside the US is far from guaranteed. Mildly put, Kiai concludes that the US is “struggling to live up to its ideals on a number of important issues…”