News Release

Secretary Walsh announces major global initiative to empower workers, ensure rights, promote democracy

Largest US commitment to support trade union rights in the global economy

WASHINGTON – In advance of the Biden-Harris administration’s Summit for Democracy this week, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh today announced the Multilateral Partnership for Organizing, Worker Empowerment and Rights initiative – the largest commitment by the U.S. government to advance worker empowerment and support trade union rights in the global economy.

At a virtual event, the Secretary joined AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation Sharan Burrow and Director General of the International Labor Organization Guy Ryder to announce M-POWER’s investments in strengthening workers’ rights globally. The whole-of-government initiative includes more than $120 million funded by the Department of Labor, Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The M-POWER initiative brings together governments, worker organizations and labor stakeholders to:

  • Strengthen free and independent trade unions.
  • Support labor law reform and enforcement.
  • Promote worker organizing and innovative use of collective bargaining.
  • Extend labor law coverage to protect workers employed in low-wage jobs and sectors often excluded from labor law protection, particularly in the informal economy.

“For democracies to thrive globally, the international community must defend and support the fundamental rights of workers, including freedom of association and collective bargaining,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “The Biden-Harris administration is employing the collective strength of the U.S. government to safeguard democracy and workers’ rights throughout the world through this historic partnership.”

Today’s announcement precedes President Biden’s Summit for Democracy on Dec. 9-10. The summit will bring together heads of state, civil society and the private sector to set forth an ambitious agenda to tackle the greatest threats faced by democracies.

Learn more about the department’s international work.

Office of the Secretary
December 7, 2021
Release Number
Media Contact: Arjun Singh
Phone Number
Media Contact: Christine Feroli
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