DOL Awards $6.4 Million to Support International Worker Rights

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis has 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. 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.

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