Summer 2010: The Right of Workers

Rights of Workers

"Where after all do human rights begin?  In small places, close to home...the factory, farm, or office...unless these rights have meaning here, they have little meaning anywhere."

 ~ Eleanor Roosevelt, United Nations Remarks, 1953

Millions of workers around the world suffer from inhumane working conditions.  In many countries, there is little or no labor law enforcement, and many workers are prevented from joining organizations, such as unions, to advance their interests. In a globalized economy, some corporations take advantage of cheap labor and lack of environmental or community protections. Workers, including child workers, must toil extremely long hours for subsistence wages, and often under unsanitary and unsafe conditions.  Even in places where there are laws to protect workers' rights, such as the United States, child labor, human trafficking, and unfair or unsafe working conditions continue to exist. It is estimated that, at any given time, between 10,000 and 50,000 workers in the U.S. are victims of forced labor.

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a great time to remember the struggles and victories of the workers who came before us and to honor the men and women who fought for the rights we enjoy today. Teaching children about the struggle for workers' rights in the U.S. and around the world is an important step in raising a generation of globally conscious and educated consumers and workers. To commemorate Labor Day, this edition of Rights Sites News is packed full of lessons, ideas, and resources on teaching about workers' rights, and is dedicated the promotion and advancement of the rights of all workers.