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ILAB News Release: [09/30/2009]
Contact Name: Suzy Bohnert or Bennett Gamble
Phone Number: (202) 693-4665 or x4667
Release Number: 09-1204-NAT

U.S. Department of Labor awards $6.4 million in grants to support international worker rights

WASHINGTONU.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today announced $6.4 million in grant awards to implement projects promoting adherence to international core labor standards and support the rights of workers. Another $131,130 in contracts has been awarded to study topics related to international labor standards.

The grants and contracts awarded by the department's Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) are part of an effort to promote worker rights, largely through the International Labor Organization's (ILO) Better Work program. Better Work tries to assist suppliers to comply with international labor standards that many buyers demand.

The worker rights projects will take place in Haiti, Lesotho, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The Better Work project in Haiti, initially funded in 2008, will continue with an additional $2.5 million. The ILO also will establish a Better Work project in Lesotho with the department's $1.9 million grant. In Pakistan, the Academy for Educational Development has been awarded $1.6 million to promote labor rights and employment opportunities in support of the planned development of reconstruction opportunity zones in specific provinces. In addition, the department is funding a pilot project in Sri Lanka for $402,500 to foster better labor relations, and restore trust and confidence among government, employers and workers' organizations.

Since 2000, the department has funded more than $288 million in technical assistance projects to improve labor conditions for workers internationally.

The department also will fund research projects on two topics: refining the assessment and monitoring of labor standards, and examining the relationship between international trade and labor rights. Labor Department officials continually work to expand their knowledge base in areas essential to the department's mission and to carry out the activities mandated by U.S. trade law and the secretary of labor's strategic plan.

The research findings generated through these projects will improve the department's capacity to produce congressionally-mandated reports on the labor impact of trade agreements; inform the design of related cooperative activities undertaken with trade partner countries; and further the knowledge base on the assessment and monitoring of international labor standards.

For more information about ILAB's technical assistance and research projects, visit

Editor's Note: A chart with information about the individual grants is below.

U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of International Labor Affairs
Office of Trade and Labor Affairs
FY 2009 Programming to Support Worker Rights Internationally








Better Work Haiti

Cooperative Agreement with the International Labor Organization



Better Work Lesotho

Cooperative Agreement with the International Labor Organization



Promotion of Labor Rights and Employment in Pakistan

Cooperative Agreement with the Academy for Education Development (AED)

Sri Lanka


Promoting Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work in Sri Lanka

Cooperative Agreement with the International Labor Organization






Refining the NAS-ILAB Matrix

Mark Barenberg


International Trade and Labor Rights

Political Economy Research Institute Support Fund
(Researchers: James Heintz and Stephanie Luce)