BWI welcomes US commitment to protect workers’ rights at home and abroad

(Photo: Rajesh Kumar Singh/

The ability of workers to form and join independent and autonomous trade unions without any interference is a pillar of democracy.  In addition, in a global economy, denial of trade union rights, the use of forced and child labour and other abuses gives countries and companies unfair trade and investment advantages that can lower the standards for others.

Yesterday, the historic announcement by the United States government to put the needs of workers at the centre of its international diplomacy and to advance labour rights through a whole-of-government approach was welcomed to give hope to millions of exploited building, construction, and forestry workers and their trade unions. The Biden administration’s Global Labour Strategy enshrined in the “Presidential Memorandum on Advancing Worker Empowerment, Rights, and High Labor Standards Globally was launched coinciding with the 2023 meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) hosted by the United States. 

BWI said that the United States’ support to international labour standards should inspire other governments to use all tools available to globalise solidarity and social justice. “For much too long, working people have been left behind by broken labour market policies and approaches that have favoured corporations, smashed trade union rights and undermined hard-won labour rights. Democracies are precarious when they serve the interests of the wealthy and powerful few rather than those who do the work that makes our workplaces, communities, and societies function. Workers work for an economy that, too often, does not work for them,” BWI General Secretary Ambet  Yuson said.

"Migrant workers in construction, women workers, those in the informal economy across all continents, indigenous peoples in our rainforests, like in the Amazon, and many others, are especially disadvantaged by social and economic injustice complicated by global warming. All of these challenges are both national and international challenges," Yuson remarked. 

“As a global union federation, BWI is working on the ground wherever possible to support unions and workers defending their rights and mobilising solidarity where we are not allowed to enter. Progress on defence of rights through the US initiative and similar measures will help liberate workers so that they can make change happen through organising and bargaining collectively.” Yuson said.