Strengthening International Labor Rights as Human Rights

A large crowd of commuters wait for a train to New York on the platform of Princeton Junction station on June, 21, 2011, in West Windsor, N.J. [AP File Photo]

About the Author: Barbara Shailor serves as Special Representative forInternational Labor Affairs.

Families across the United States are gathering together today to celebrate Labor Day — a time honored tradition that we’ve set aside for over a century — and remember the contributions of workers. The cookouts, parades, and end of summer rituals are unique ways that we celebrate this very American holiday. But the recognition of working people — be it in May or September — through a holiday and tradition devoted to no particular gender, individual, battle, group, or saint is also unique. It is a holiday we all share.

It has only been six months since the world witnessed the remarkable transformations taking place in the Middle East. The self-immolation of a Tunisian street vendor, who was concerned about not being able to feed his family, has resonated with workers everywhere. Workers, in countries as different from one another as one could imagine, are speaking… more »

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