This year, the Department of Labor is rolling out a program called the Multilateral Partnership for Organizing, Worker Empowerment, and Rights (M-POWER). It’s meant to promote workers’ rights abroad.
- Protecting workers’ rights abroad to form independent democratic unions is essential to democracy building, which this administration values, Thea Lee, deputy undersecretary for international affairs at the Department of Labor, said.
- Workers in other countries who try to form independent democratic unions sometimes face violence, threats, legal obstacles, and some of them have been fired, jailed or harassed, she explained.
- M-POWER is a commitment from the U.S. to spend up to $130 million over a couple of years to support workers’ rights to collectively bargain and form unions, according to Lee, and governments from other countries such as Germany, Spain and Argentina have partnered with Department of Labor on M-POWER.