June 9, 2008 / 4:49 PM / 11 years ago

U.S. violates worker rights: world labor body

GENEVA (Reuters) - The global labor union grouping (ITUC) accused the United States on Monday of violating a wide range of workers’ rights and allowing the existence of a “huge union-busting industry”.

A police officer blocks the entrance to an area of Gloucester, western England, in this November 27, 2003 file photo. REUTERS/Martin Bennett

In a report sent to Geneva from its Brussels headquarters the International Trade Union Confederation said many U.S. workers were denied the right to organize into unions while child labor was not effectively tackled.

“The U.S. administration, rather than leading the way on the protection of working people and on decent pay and conditions, has been intent on denying the freedom to join a union and bargain collectively to millions of workers,” the ITUC said.

“This hurts America’s working people and has a negative impact on workers’ rights in other countries as well,” said the grouping’s General Secretary Guy Ryder.

The ITUC was created two years ago out of the merger of two other worldwide labor groupings which emerged in the 1950s to resist communist control of the international labor movement. Key U.S. members include the AFL-CIO.

The latest report was issued to coincide with discussions on U.S. trade policies at the World Trade Organization (WTO) where Washington has argued under both Democratic and Republican administrations for trade rules to be linked to labor policies.

The report said U.S. workers excluded from the right to form unions included those in agriculture, the public sector and in domestic service, as well as supervisors and independent contractors.

For most private sector workers, forming unions was extremely difficult and often faced anti-union pressure from employers, it declared.

The United States has, according to an ITUC summary of the report, “a huge union-busting industry which aims at undermining trade union organizing”.

“Some 82 percent of employers hire companies that employ a wide range of anti-union tactics,” it added.

“Employers also force employees to listen to anti-union propaganda and threaten workers with company closures if they vote to form a trade union,” the report said.

Child labor, much of it provided by under-age migrants from Latin American countries, was “in many cases not effectively addressed... particularly in agriculture and not least because of the hazardous conditions children are exposed to,” it added.

Forced labor also remained a problem, especially for migrant workers in agriculture and in garment manufacturing in U.S. overseas territories like the Northern Mariana islands, the ITUC said.

“Working conditions are severe, and recruitment practices often result in indentured servitude,” the report declared.

(Editing by Jonathan Lynn)

For the full ITUC report click on: here

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