Secretary Walsh announces new partners, action plan, support for international worker voice initiative
WASHINGTON – Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh today announced that Argentina, Canada, Germany, South Africa and Spain have joined the Multilateral Partnership for Organizing, Worker Empowerment and Rights initiative and that the effort has established a new action plan and that the U.S. has exceeded its 2021 pledge of support. The M-POWER initiative remains the largest U.S. government commitment to advance worker empowerment and support trade union rights in the global economy.
The news came today at the Department of Labor’s headquarters in Washington where Secretary Walsh was joined by Canadian Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan, Argentinian Minister of Labor Raquel Kismer de Olmos, President of the American Federation of Teachers and AFL-CIO Executive Council member Randi Weingarten, Deputy President of the International Trade Union Confederation Cathy Feingold, and Executive Director of the Solidarity Center Shawna Bader-Blau.
The addition of Argentina, Canada, Germany, South Africa and Spain as M-POWER partners will strengthen the initiative. Together, the Departments of Labor and State and the U.S. Agency for International Development have obligated approximately $130 million for technical assistance to workers and organizations worldwide. M-POWER philanthropic partners have also committed an additional $100 million deployed towards M-POWER goals and outcomes in 2022.
As part of M-POWER’s new action plan, partners have pledged to work together to respond to urgent threats against labor activists and organizations, beginning with a call to action around the recent arrest and detention of Cambodian union leader Chhim Sithar. The action plan also calls on partner organizations to deploy their respective resources to support worker-driven campaigns to eliminate gender-based violence and promote occupational safety and health in the world of work.
“Coordinating global efforts to promote worker organizing and to lift up workers’ voices is a key component of M-POWER,” said Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh. “Strong, independent labor movements are central to inclusive, vibrant democracies, which is why workers’ collective voice is central to setting the priorities for M-POWER.”
The M-POWER initiative brings together governments, worker organizations, labor stakeholders and civil society organizations 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.