Story at a glance

  • The coronavirus pandemic devastated the global economy and worsened conditions for many workers, according to a new report.
  • Last year, the Global Rights Index ranked the United States among the worst countries for workers' rights for "systemic violations of rights."
  • The index reported no improvement this year, citing union-busting and privacy violations despite pending legislative reforms.

Every year since the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) debuted the Global Rights Index in 2014, the United States has been ranked among the worst countries for workers' rights for "systemic violations of rights." After a global pandemic and racial reckoning, there has been no improvement. 

"The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated jobs, communities and lives. The Global Rights Index exposes a shameful roll call of governments and companies that have pursued an anti-union agenda in the face of workers who have stood on the front line providing essential work to keep economies and communities functioning," said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow in a release.


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA

UN CALLS FOR US, OTHERS TO END 'IMPUNITY' FOR POLICE VIOLENCE AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE

RACIAL CONTROVERSY ERUPTS AROUND ROYALS AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE

PRINCIPAL ESCORTED OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION AFTER DELIVERING FIERY SPEECH

NY TIMES ESTIMATES WEALTHY AMERICANS ARE REFUSING TO PAY $1.4T IN UNCOLLECTED TAXES


Earlier this month, the United Nations issued new warnings about the global state of human rights as global poverty grew for the first time in 20 years. Attacks against workers' rights have reached historic highs, according to "several key measures" of the ITUC Global Rights Index, with roughly three-fourths of countries violating the right to strike, collectively bargain, establish and join a trade union. The worst region in the world for working people was the Middle East and Northern Africa. The top 10 worst countries also included Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Myanmar, the Philippines, Turkey and Zimbabwe. 

Last year, the United States was given a ranking of 4 on the index, which indicates systematic violations of workers’ rights, just above China (ranked 5). The U.S.'s ranking indicates no guarantee of workers’ rights. With no improvement this year, the U.S. was ranked alongside countries including Greece, Qatar, Sierra Leone and Venezuela. The report cited several violations of the right to privacy by employers such as Facebook, Amazon and Google as well as "union-busting" by Uber, Lyft and Doordash. 


America is changing faster than ever! Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.


"When COVID-19 hit, we learned who the heroes are. Workers everywhere cared for the sick, put food on our tables, and kept the economy moving. But despite all that, workers are under attack like never before," Burrow said in the release. "Governments and employers exploited the pandemic to exploit the people the world depends on by increasing surveillance, breaking agreements, laying off workers, blocking and intimidating unions and resorting to violence and murder."

The ITUC did recognize efforts at legislative reform, including the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act passed by the House last February as potential improvements. The bill died in the Senate during the last session of Congress before being passed by the House again in February, but it is meeting opposition from Republicans


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA

HOW MAYORS FOR A GUARANTEED INCOME ARE PROVING THE ‘WELFARE QUEEN’ STEREOTYPE WRONG

BLACK LIVES MATTER ANNOUNCES NEW SURVIVAL FUND AMIDST THE WAIT FOR COVID-19 RELIEF

MOST AMERICANS BACK RAISING FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE TO $15, POLL SAYS

ORDINARY FOLKS WILL BE PAYING OFF $50B IN TEXAS FREEZE COSTS FOR DECADES


 

Published on Jun 30, 2021