Solidarity Center
our mission
The Solidarity Center's mission is to help build a global labor movement by strengthening the economic and political power of workers around the world through effective, independent and democratic unions.

Solidarity Center 2013 Annual Report
In 2013-2014, the Solidarity Center worked with allies in more than 60 countries to support workers through organizing, bargaining, advocating and building a collective voice. Find out more in the Solidarity Center 2014 Annual Report.

Solidarity Center Call for Proposals
Bangladesh Worker Rights Defense Fund

Bangladeshi union organizers are in peril and need your help. Please donate now to support them as they reach out to garment workers in unsafe factories. Find out more.

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Donate Now! West Africa Ebola Emergency Fund

Workers in West Africa are at high risk of contracting the deadly Ebola virus because many come in daily contact with the public in their jobs as nurses, market vendors or domestic employees. Women workers are especially vulnerable, as they are caregivers. Many workers and their families are suffering from the illness—or living in danger zones.

Ebola could strike as many as 1.4 million people in the next few months, according to U.S. health officials.

Your donation can help slow the spread of Ebola and save lives. 

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Your tax-deductible contribution to the West Africa Ebola Emergency Fund will assist Solidarity Center union allies in Liberia and Sierra Leone in providing workers with prevention education, material support and financial assistance. (Read more)

Hong Kong Unions Call for General Strike

September 29, 2014—Workers and their unions from across Hong Kong are part of the surging numbers of protestors who have shut down much of the city to peacefully demand a voice in their government.

The Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) and other unions are calling for a general strike in support of students who launched protests earlier this month and who have not backed down even as police deployed tear gas over the weekend. Unions of school teachers and dock workers are striking and will be joined by other member unions.
The Hong Kong Bar Association yesterday in a statement condemned “the excessive and disproportionate use of force by the police against unarmed civilians.”

Brands say they will pay more for clothes made in Cambodia

September 30, 2014—This is a crosspost from the global union federation IndustriAll.

In an unprecedented move, eight major fashion retailers have said they are prepared to pay more for clothes made in Cambodia. It follows a global day of action by unions in support of garment workers’ demands for a higher wage.

he brands, which include one of Cambodia’s biggest buyers, H&M, as well as Inditex (Zara) and Primark, have written to the Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and the Chairman of the Garments Manufacturers Association (GMAC) saying they are ready to factor higher wages into their pricing.

Read the full story.

Bangladesh: Workers Need a Raise in Fish Processing Industry
September 29, 2014— Mukta, who works in a shrimp factory in Khulna, Bangladesh, makes $50 per month but that wage is not enough to support his family.

“Although employers should raise wages every year according to the law, they don’t follow the rules,” he said. “I have worked in my factory for nine years and my salary has increased only once.”

Mukta joined a meeting on the wages in the shrimp and fish processing industry with representatives from labor, business and civil society last week. Organized by the Solidarity Center and Social Activities for the Environment (SAFE), the event in Dhaka, the capital, featured Md. Mujibul Haque Chunnu, state minister at the Ministry of Labor and Employment.

Moroccan Port Workers Win Hard-Fought Rights in New Pact

September 25, 2014—Dock workers in Tangiers, Morocco, successfully negotiated a collective bargaining agreement yesterday after a two-year struggle for worker rights that involved the wrongful arrest of union leaders for union activity and an international campaign to free the two men.

Significantly, the new pact with the global port operator APM Terminals includes respect for trade union rights along with a commitment to social dialogue, according to Said El Hairech, general secretary of the National Union of Port Workers (Union des Syndicats des Transports), an affiliate of the Moroccan Labor Union (UMT) and of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

Swaziland: Textile Workers Sickened from Dangerous Chemical

September 24, 2014—Workers continue to be sickened at a Swazi textile factory where dozens of workers required hospitalization earlier this month after the plant began using the dangerous chemical butyl acetate to clean clothing stains. The workers, who went to the hospital at their own expense, reported chest pains, severe headaches, vomiting and bleeding, and some collapsed.

Despite the severity of the symptoms and the number of workers affected, the union says management ordered workers back on the job before a thorough health investigation was completed. The company has denied paid sick leave to workers, including one woman who developed bloody blisters in her mouth. Union shop stewards report that the dangerous working conditions have not been addressed and workers continue to become sick, with some vomiting blood. A pregnant worker who experienced swelling was told by doctors in intensive care that her baby may not be breathing.

Kenyan Young Worker Activist Honored by President Obama

September 24, 2014—When President Obama spoke yesterday at the 2014 Clinton Global Initiative about the value of civil society and the necessity of developing young civil society leaders, the first person he recognized as contributing to the development of his community was Solidarity Center fellow and Kenya social justice activist Walid Ahmed Ali.

Commending him for his work creating jobs at the Kenya-Somali border for unemployed youth, Obama said Ali told him he “strives not just for the idea of democracy,” but “to cement the practice of democracy.

“We thank you Walid for your extraordinary efforts and we stand with you,” the President said.

Malaysia: Allow Union Formation in Sabah Forest Industry

September 24, 2014—This is a crosspost from Building and Wood Workers International (BWI).

Sabah Forest Industry, SFI, owned and operated by Ballarpur Industries Limited (BILT), part of the gigantic Avantha Group is stepping up union-busting tactics. The SFI has since 1998 refused to respect workers’ rights to form their union, affiliated to the Sabah Timber Industry Employees Union (STIEU), by using legal and technical maneuverings, including two Judicial Reviews to quash the decision of Malaysian Minister of Human Resource to recognize the union. This Indian conglomerate operates in 90 countries with over 25 thousand employees.

ACT NOW to demand that SFI finally allows the conduct of free secret ballot elections; refrain from legal maneuverings in the inclusion and exclusion of eligible employees to vote; respect workers’ rights to form and join union of their choosing free from management interference and respect the results of legitimate elections.

Ecuador: 20,000 Unionists, Allies Rally Against Repressive Laws

September 23, 2014—More than 20,000 trade union members and other Ecuadorans protested regressive government reforms in Quito, the capital, last week, with simultaneous marches in seven other cities. Those taking part in the rallies oppose proposed constitutional amendments, such as one which would deny new civil service employees rights under the country’s Labor Code, and they object to efforts to pass a proposed Labor Relations Law (Ley Orgánica de Relaciones Laborales) before details of the law are made public.

They also oppose the president’s Executive Decree 16, passed in June 2013, which subjects all nongovernmental organizations to increased oversight and gives the executive branch broad powers to dissolve organizations that it says threaten public peace or interfere with public policy.

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