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Bureau of International Labor Affairs
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On May, 4, 2010, the Secretary of Labor convened a meeting of the President's Committee on the International Labor Organization (PC/ILO) to consider United States policy on a number of ILO issues. The Members of the Committee (1) adopted the following conclusions and requested the Chair to transmit them to the President.

The President's Committee on the International Labor Organization:

  1. Recalling that the President's Committee was established thirty years ago for the purpose of formulating and coordinating U.S. policy towards the ILO; reaffirming the vital importance of U.S. membership and active participation in the ILO; and recognizing that labor and social issues are an indispensable part of globalization and economic recovery; welcomes and fully supports the reinvigoration of the PC/ILO mechanism after a ten-year period of inactivity.

  2. Underscoring the value of U.S. ratification of ILO conventions; and reaffirming support for the tripartite ground rules governing U.S. ratification (2); calls upon the Tripartite Advisory Panel on International Labor Standards (TAPILS) to resume its work of reviewing the legal feasibility of U.S. ratification of selected ILO conventions.

  3. Recalling the significant role of the PC/ILO in accomplishing U.S. ratification of ILO Convention No. 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labor; recalling also that ILO Convention No. 111 on Discrimination in Employment and Occupation was submitted to the Senate for advice and consent to ratification in 1998; recognizing that the United States is an international model for equality of opportunity and treatment in the workplace; and considering that ratification of ILO Convention No. 111 would be an important expression of support for this fundamental right; pledges to work toward the successful completion of the ratification process for ILO Convention No. 111.

  4. Noting the contribution of the maritime industry to the U.S. and international economies; and understanding the value of protecting and promoting seafarers' rights to decent conditions of work and of creating conditions of fair competition for ship-owners, while at the same time enhancing maritime security; urges TAPILS, in conjunction with the Coast Guard and all other relevant U.S. agencies, to expedite its review of ILO Convention No. 185 on Seafarers' Identity Documents and the consolidated Maritime Labor Convention of 2006 and, where necessary, to find ways to resolve concerns about U.S. compliance.

  5. Recognizing that ILO conventions cover a wide range of issues relating to fundamental labor rights, governance and technical standards; urges TAPILS to submit to the Committee a short list of other ILO conventions that appear to be suitable for legal review and possible U.S. ratification in the near term.

  6. Noting the Committee's traditional role of informing the development of the U.S. Government's objectives for participation in the ILO; recalling the significance of the 1998 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up; and mindful of the 2008 ILO Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization; resolves to work constructively together on a tripartite basis to support the effective implementation of the ILO's strategic objectives of employment, social protection, social dialogue, and promotion of international labor standards.


1 The President's Committee was established by Executive Order 12216 of June 18, 1980. It comprises the Secretary of Labor, who chairs the Committee, the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Commerce, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, the President of the AFL-CIO, and the President of the U.S. Council for International Business. The Committee is currently authorized by Executive Order 13511 and its Charter dated October 30, 2009.

2 The ground rules — adopted by the President's Committee in 1985 and formalized in a 1988 Senate Declaration — set out three principles for U.S. ratification of ILO conventions:  that each ILO convention will be examined on its merits on a tripartite basis; that if there are any differences between the convention and Federal law and practice, these will be dealt with in the normal legislative process; and that there is no intention to change State law and practice by Federal action through ratification of ILO conventions, and the examination will include possible conflicts between Federal and State law that would be caused by such ratification.