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lindagray

WORKERS' RIGHTS (Wikipedia) 3

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Safety and Social Sustainability
Recent initiatives in the field of sustainability have included a focus on social sustainability, which includes promoting workers' rights and safe working conditions, prevention of human trafficking, and elimination of illegal child labor from the sustainably sourced products and services. Organizations such as the U.S. Department of Labor and Department of State have released studies on products that have been identified as using child labor and industries using or funded by human trafficking. Labor rights are defined internationally by sources such as the Norwegian Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (DIFI) and the International Finance Corporation performance standards.

Living Wage
The labor movement pushes for guaranteed minimum wage laws, and there are continuing negotiations about increases to the minimum wage. However, opponents see minimum wage laws as limiting employment opportunities for unskilled and entry level workers.

Migrant Workers
Legal migrant workers are sometimes abused. For instance, migrants have faced a number of alleged abuses in the United Arab Emirates (including Dubai). Human Rights Watch lists several problems including "nonpayment of wages, extended working hours without overtime compensation, unsafe working environments resulting in death and injury, squalid living conditions in labor camps, and withholding of passports and travel documents by employers." Despite laws against the practice, employers confiscate migrant workers' passports. Without their passports, workers cannot switch jobs or return home. These workers have little recourse for labor abuses, but conditions have been improving. Labor and social welfare minister Ali bin Abdullah al-Kaabi has undertaken a number of reforms to help improve labor practices in his country.

Undocumented Workers
The right to equal treatment, regardless of gender, origin and appearance, religion, sexual orientation, is also seen by many as a worker's right. Discrimination in the work place is illegal in many countries, but some see the wage gap between genders and other groups as a persistent problem.

Undocumented Workers in the United States
The National Labor Relations Act recognizes undocumented laborers as employees. However, the supreme court case Hoffman Plastic Compounds Inc. Vs. NLRB established that backpay could not be awarded to unlawfully fired undocumented employees due to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. In this court decision, it was also stated that the U.S. would support FLSA and MSPA, without regard to whether or not someone is documented. Undocumented workers also still have legal protection against discrimination based on national origin. The decision of the Hoffman supreme court case primarily has affected undocumented laborers by preventing them from getting backpay and/or reinstatement.

While no undocumented individual is technically able to work in the United States legally, undocumented folks make up 5% of the workforce. In the U.S., people who were born outside of the country tend to work in riskier jobs and have a higher chance of encountering death on the job. The low wage sectors, which many undocumented folks work in, have the highest rates of wage and hour violation. Estimates claim that 31% of undocumented people work in service jobs. Restaurant work in particular has a 12% rate of undocumented workers.

Undocumented people can and have joined labor unions, and are even credited by a 2008 dissertation for "reinvigorating" the labor movement. Because the NLRA protects undocumented workers, it protects their right to organize. However the NLRA excludes workers that are agricultural, domestic, independent contractors, governmental, or related to their employers. The right to speak up against labor abuses was protected further by an immigration reform bill in 2013 with the POWER act, which intended to protect employees who spoke out against labor practices from facing detention or deportation.

However, labor unions are not necessarily welcoming of immigrant workers. Within unions, there have been internal struggles, such as when Los Angeles immigrant janitors reorganized service workers. Being a part of the union does not necessarily address all the needs of immigrant workers, and thus wining power within the union is the first step for immigrant workers to address their needs.

Immigrant workers often mobilize beyond unions, by campaigning in their communities on intersectional issues of immigration, discrimination, and police misconduct.

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