In Focus Archive
September 26, 2012 DOL Releases New ILAB Reports on International Child Labor and Forced Labor
DOL today released three reports on child labor and/or forced labor in foreign countries. Included in the release is the 11th edition of the annual Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor, a report mandated by the Trade and Development Act of 2000 that provides information on the efforts of certain U.S. trade beneficiary countries to eliminate the worst forms of child labor. The 11th edition includes assessments of each country's advancements in the elimination of the worst forms of child labor, and continues to highlight the major findings related to each government's efforts as well as provide country-specific suggestions for actions that would help combat the problems each country is facing.
September 20, 2012 Awareness Raising Works in West Africa
This tale of three villages in Benin where children as young as three work in stone quarries demonstrates the power of raising awareness in combating child labor. Here, the Department of Labor’s ECOWAS II Project educates families, businesses and communities about the hidden dangers of quarrying and lasting value of sending children to school. It also puts that education within reach for poor families.
July 16, 2012 ILAB Publishes its FY 2012 Solicitation for a Project to Combat Child Labor in Areas of Liberian Rubber Production
The U.S. Department of Labor's (USDOL) Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) will award up to $6 million for one or more cooperative agreement(s) to fund a technical assistance project(s) to support efforts to reduce child labor in rubber growing areas of Liberia. The project will promote improved policies to address child labor in rubber producing areas and enhanced monitoring and enforcement of such policies, with a focus on company-owned or operated rubber plantations. The project will also support the direct delivery of services to children engaged in or at-risk of various forms of child labor and their households in communities where livelihoods are largely dependent on smallholder rubber production.
June 28, 2012 ILAB Publishes its FY 2012 Solicitation for Cooperative Agreement Applications (SGA 12-04) for a Partnership to Reduce Child Labor and Forced Labor in Imported Agricultural Products
USDOL/ILAB announces its intent to award up to $5 million for one or more cooperative agreements to support a project to pilot test specific elements of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Guidelines for Eliminating Child and Forced Labor in Agricultural Supply Chains based on the recommendations of the Consultative Group to Eliminate the Use of Child Labor and Forced Labor in Imported Agricultural Products. The project must involve a partnership between a non-governmental organization and one or more companies. Projects funded under this solicitation must focus on efforts to reduce child labor in the supply chain of one agricultural product in one country, as well as forced labor if applicable. Applicants must propose agricultural products and geographic areas with known risks of child labor and of forced labor where applicable.
June 28, 2012 Secretary Solis Welcomes Foreign Dignitaries
Secretary Solis this week met with senior officials from Vietnam, Colombia and the United Kingdom. On June 25, Secretary Solis met with Madam Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, vice president of Vietnam's National Assembly, and accompanying senior officials including the labor minister, Madam Pham Thi Hai Chuyen. They discussed the importance of addressing employment challenges, Vietnam's recent labor law reform, protection for women, migrant and overseas workers, and cooperation on labor policy and technical assistance activities under the long-standing U.S.-Vietnam Labor Dialogue. On June 27, Secretary Solis met with Colombian Minister of Labor Rafael Pardo and other members of the Colombian government to discuss Colombia's recent achievements in protecting workers' rights and the challenges that remain. Secretary Solis also met Iain Duncan Smith, the UK Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, to discuss new and innovative employment policies and programs that the two countries have developed and implemented.
June 19, 2012 ILAB Requests Information Regarding Submission 2011—3 (Dominican Republic)
As part of its ongoing review, the Office of Trade and Labor Affairs requests information related to the Dominican Republic Submission. The Submission alleges that the Government of the Dominican Republic failed to fulfill its obligations under Chapter 16 of the CAFTA–DR (the Labor Chapter) through actions or lack thereof that denied workers in the sugar sector their rights under the laws of the Dominican Republic relating to freedom of association, the right to organize, child labor, forced labor, the right to bargain collectively, and acceptable conditions of work. Written comments are due no later than 5 p.m. July 2, 2012.
June 11, 2012 Migrant Worker Partnership Signing Event
Secretary Solis, the Wage and Hour Division (WHD), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will sign agreements with the Embassies of Honduras, the Philippines, Peru and Ecuador. These partnerships with other countries' embassies and consulates educate and encourage all workers and employers to report to and cooperate with DOL regional offices across the U.S. Informing all workers and employers about their rights and responsibilities helps DOL's mission to protect workplaces for the benefit of all workers. With today's signings, DOL now has agreements with ten countries.
June 1, 2012 International Labor Organization Releases 2012 Global Estimate of Forced Labor
Three out of every thousand people, nearly 21 million world wide, are trapped in forced labor, according to the International Labor Organization. This means they have jobs that they were coerced or deceived into taking and cannot leave. The ILO reports that the majority of victims are women and girls, roughly three quarters of are adults, and the majority are labor near their homes. The 22 percent who are victims of forced sexual exploitation are more likely to move across countries and borders. The ILO's new estimate draws on exhaustive research and a new methodology designed to capture accurate data on a crime that is often hidden and unreported. The Department of Labor funded the improved survey guidelines. U.S. Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis commended the ILO for research that will contribute to efforts to "eradicate modern slavery," and officials from Department of Labor's Bureau of International Affairs took part in a briefing to launch the new report. It is the first new ILO global estimate of forced labor since 2005.
May 14, 2012 Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) Implementation Act
The Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) Implementation Act requires the President to submit a biennial report to Congress on the progress made by the CAFTA-DR countries under the CAFTA-DR Labor Chapter. The President delegated this reporting function to the Secretary of Labor, to be carried out in consultation with the United States Trade Representative (USTR). This second biennial report looks at how the U.S. Government has implemented the Labor Chapter with its counterparts in the CAFTA-DR region, what those countries have done in six categories related to labor law enforcement, and the impact of U.S. technical assistance provided to help the CAFTA-DR countries achieve progress.
May 9, 2012 Trade Preferences and Labor Eligibility Requirements under HOPE II
The Department's Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) joined the U.S. Department of Commerce's Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) in hosting a webinar on the trade preferences available under HOPE II and the labor eligibility requirements. The ILAB portion of the webinar included a detailed explanation of the process pursuant to HOPE II for determining producer non-compliance, the current status of that process, and ongoing activities leading to the publication in mid-June of a public report required under the statute.
May 9, 2012 Honduran Mom Empowers the Next Generation of Workers
As Mothers' Day approaches, ILAB wanted to share the story of Isaura de Jesús Maradiaga, a 61-year old mother of eight that was trained under the ILAB Everybody Works project as a labor promoter.
April 19, 2012 Pointing the Way on Labor Reforms
The top labor officials from Germany and the United States agree that robust worker training programs are essential to building dynamic 21st century economies. It was one of many areas of agreement between Secretary Solis and German Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, Ursula von der Leyen, during a discussion on labor reforms. The leaders also discussed the success of Germany's program that encourages companies to reduce employee hours in lieu of layoffs as a smart strategy to weather economic downturns. The Obama administration has pushed a similar work-sharing program, which is used in 24 states and the District of Columbia.
April 4, 2012 Reflections on Global Labor Issues by Deputy Undersecretary Sandra Polaski
This week I will be leaving my position as Deputy Undersecretary of the International Labor Affairs Bureau at the Department of Labor to become the International Labor Organization's Executive Director for Social Dialogue. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to help spearhead global efforts to improve livelihoods and strengthen rights around the world.
March 20, 2012 Heroes Wanted
Documentary film maker Len Morris is this year's winner of the Department of Labor's Iqbal Masih award. Morris received this honor for raising global awareness of the plight of child laborers through his films Stolen Childhoods, which explores child labor in eight countries and Rescuing Emmanuel, the story of a Kenyan street child.
March 8, 2012 International Women's Day: Empowering Rural Women
Each year, on March 8, we celebrate International Women's Day (IWD). The International Labor Organization's theme, "Empower Rural Women End Hunger and Poverty," recognizes the critical role and contributions of rural women both domestically and internationally. To commemorate IWD this year, the International Labor Organization is calling for new steps to empower rural women.
January 23, 2012 Update on Child Labor and Cocoa
Stakeholders attending a briefing on Jan. 23 at the Department of Labor's headquarters received updates on the actions being taken to combat child labor in cocoa producing areas of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. In opening remarks, Deputy Secretary of Labor Seth Harris thanked Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Eliot Engel for their ongoing leadership and commitment on this issue and reaffirmed the department’s commitment to combating the worst forms of child labor, including through effective monitoring and remediation programs. The meeting also included breakout sessions on a range of topics, including promoting transparency and community involvement, assessing impact, utilizing new technology, and linking livelihood and remediation and child labor reduction. The briefing marked the start of a week-long quarterly meeting, which ends Jan. 27, of a Child Labor Cocoa Coordinating Group (CLCCG) working in support of this initiative.
December 21, 2011 USDOL Awards $13 Million Grant for Project to Address Child Labor in Peru
The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs has awarded a $13 million cooperative agreement to the non-governmental organization Desarrollo y Autogestión (DYA) for a technical assistance project that will support efforts to eliminate exploitative child labor in Peru with a focus on combating child labor in rural areas. The project will combat child labor by using an integrated approach to increase community awareness, improve children’s access to quality education and vocational training, promote sustainable livelihoods for their households, and increase beneficiaries’ access to national programs that help households overcome dependence on child labor to meet basic needs.
December 14, 2011 Ethiopians Fighting Against Child Exploitation (E-FACE)
The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs is awarding a $10 million cooperative agreement to World Vision to combat exploitative child labor in Ethiopia that will focus primarily on child labor in rural areas and the traditional weaving industry. The project will address child labor by using an innovative, effective and integrated approach that involves increasing children's access to quality education, promoting sustainable livelihoods for children's households, and increasing beneficiaries' access to national social protection programs that help households overcome dependence on children working in order to meet basic needs.
November 28, 2011 ILAB Releases Research Pointing to Ways to Help Vulnerable Families in Developing Countries
For vulnerable families in developing countries, making ends meet and making a living can be conflicting imperatives. These new ILAB-sponsored papers provide innovative analyses that shed light on how to avoid or resolve the conflict. ILAB pursues policies that promote sustainable livelihoods, protect workers' ability to exercise their rights, and ensure that making ends meet and making a living are consistent and ever more obtainable goals.
November 10, 2011 U.S. Vietnam Labor Dialogue
The annual U.S.-Vietnam Labor Dialogue took place on November 10 in Washington, D.C. Vietnam's Vice Minister of Labor, Mr. Pham Minh Huan, led a Vietnamese delegation and met with a U.S. delegation headed by Deputy Undersecretary Sandra Polaski to discuss the Better Work Program in Vietnam, ongoing labor law reform and technical cooperation projects to improve industrial relations. Mr. Jason Kearns, minority trade counsel on the House Committee on Ways and Means discussed the importance of addressing labor standards in the context of trade negotiations.
November 1, 2011 XVII Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor Ministerial Meeting
Deputy Undersecretary Sandra Polaski led the U.S. delegation to the XVII Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor on October 31-November 1 in San Salvador, El Salvador. Speaking to the Conference on the subject of "Putting Jobs at the Heart of Strategies to Create a Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Economy," Ms. Polaski described the administration's jobs proposal, underscoring how the initiatives incorporate programs that have worked successfully both in the United States and in other countries. The Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor (IACML) is the labor and employment component of the Organization of American States (OAS) and is designed to promote hemispheric cooperation on labor issues.
October 21, 2011 President Obama signs implementing legislation for the Colombia, Panama, and South Korea Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)
To ensure that Colombia and Panama would meet the commitments of the FTA labor provisions, both made some significant improvements in their labor laws and practice. Further, the Governments of Colombia and the United States agreed upon a Colombia Action Plan Related to Labor Rights to be fulfilled before the FTA enters into force. The labor provisions in each FTA are the most advanced to date and ensure protection and enforcement workers' rights and strengthen cooperation on labor issues so that American workers will be able to compete on a level playing field. The Labor Chapters of these FTAs reaffirm the Parties' obligations to adopt and maintain in their laws and practices the five fundamental labor rights, as stated in the 1998 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. These obligations are subject to the same dispute settlement and enforcement mechanisms as commercial obligations under the FTAs. Each of the FTAs will enter into force once the Parties exchange formal diplomatic notes affirming that they are in compliance with all the obligations of the FTA.
October 13, 2011 US Department of Labor announces $13 million grant competition to combat exploitative child labor in Peru
The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs has announced a $13 million competitive solicitation for cooperative agreements to combat exploitative child labor in Peru, including supporting efforts to address poverty and promote social inclusion. Funded projects will target exploitative child labor in agriculture, mining and other hazardous work in Peru's Huancavelica and Huánuco regions, which have some of Peru's highest rates of poverty and work by children, and some of the country's lowest rates of primary and secondary school completion.
October 3, 2011 Department of Labor Issues Reports on International Child Labor and Forced Labor
Today the Department of Labor released three reports on child labor and forced labor in foreign countries. The release includes the 10th edition of the annual Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor, a report mandated by the Trade and Development Act of 2000 that provides information on the efforts of certain U.S. trade beneficiary countries to eliminate the worst forms of child labor.
August 29, 2011 Secretary Solis and ambassadors of the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and El Salvador sign declarations and letters of arrangements protecting the rights of migrant workers on August 29, 2011 and kicked off National Labor Rights Week.
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis signed joint declarations and letters of arrangement with Dominican Republic Ambassador Anibal de Castro, Costa Rica Ambassador Muni Figueres and El Salvador Ambassador Francisco Altschul to ensure that workers from those countries are aware of the laws protecting the rights of all workers in the United States.
June 16, 2011 Secretary Solis and ambassadors of Guatemala and Nicaragua sign declarations protecting migrant workers’ rights
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, Guatemalan Ambassador Francisco Villagrán De Léon and Nicaraguan Ambassador Francisco Campbell today signed declarations that will make it easier to protect the rights of Guatemalan and Nicaraguan citizens who work in the United States.
June 10, 2011 African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum
The United States Department of Labor's Bureau for International Labor Affairs (ILAB) will participate in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum in Lusaka, Zambia, on June 10 and 11, 2011. Dr. Donna Chung from ILAB will participate on the panel, "Effective Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programming," at the Forum's Private Sector and Civil Society session, and speak to the critical role that labor standards play in successful CSR efforts. She will also conduct meetings with our trade partners to ensure that workers in participating AGOA countries are treated fairly and are able to share in the benefits of the global economy.
May 22, 2011 Secretary Solis travels to El Salvador
February 3, 2011 Meeting on Global Green Economy
December 15, 2010 DOL Releases New ILAB Reports on International Child Labor and Forced Labor
September 13, 2010 Africa, Cocoa and Kids
July 30, 2010 Labor Consultations with Guatemala
July 27, 2010 Secretary Solis announces Better Work Project in Nicaragua
April 20-21st, 2010 Secretary Solis hosts G20 Labor and Employment Ministers
January 25-26, 2010 Deputy Undersecretary Sandra Polaski Hosts Meeting for Representatives of the G20 Labor and Employment Ministers in Washington, D.C.
December 18, 2009 Department of Labor Hosts Panel of Academic and Program Experts on Transforming the "Youth Bulge" into a "Worker Bulge"
On December 18th, 2009, USG officials from the Departments of Education, Agriculture, State (including USAID) and Labor came together to hear from academic and program experts on transforming the "youth bulge" into a "worker bulge." Electronic copies of the panelists' presentations, as well as program fact sheets and articles, are available upon request from Lili Stern, firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 19, 2009 U.S. Department of Labor’s Sandra Polaski addresses Better Work Conference in Washington, D.C.
October 8, 2009 Secretary SolisLeads U.S. Delegation to Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labor
September 29, 2009 U.S. Department of Labor’s Sandra Polaski Addresses Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Labor and Employment Ministerial in Paris
September 28th & 29th, 2009 ILAB Grants Awarded
September 10, 2009 Department of Labor Issues Reports on International Child Labor and Forced Labor
June 10, 2009 Department of Labor Hosts World Day Against Child Labor Roundtable
April 22, 2009 Secretary Solis joins OCFT grantees for event commemorating upcoming World Day Against Child Labor
January 16, 2009 U.S. Department of Labor’s First Annual Iqbal Masih Award for the Elimination of Child Labor Presented