ating safeguards for workers’ rights; and helps build a strong international system of justice and accountability for the worst human rights crimes.


Difficulties abound in monitoring international labor standards (ILS), including dissimilar data collection methodologies at the country level and the large number of indicators necessary to provide an accurate portrait of a country’s labor standards climate. Complexity in assessing a country’s compliance is also introduced by regional, industry, and ownership differences in how firms are managed and regulated. Interpreting data correctly requires detailed knowledge of every country examined, and it is unlikely that this level of expertise will be available. The proposed National Academies database should not be used to make cross-national comparisons or to establish any kind of global ranking of countries.

Ms. Rosenthal stated that there are many difficulties associated with monitoring the core labor standards, and these have been set forth in the numerous papers that the committee has received. Different methodologies for collecting data, the variety of systems for monitoring compliance, the breadth of indicators to be used, and the complexity introduced by sectoral, regional, ownership, and management differences create a situation in which it would be nearly impossible to aggregate the data into a unified system of ranking countries. To illustrate this point, Ms. Rosenthal gave a detailed account of her research into the labor conditions in the textile, garment, and footwear industries in Vietnam. Vietnam has a mixed economy with privately owned plants competing against those still owned by the state. Working conditions vary depending on the ownership structure and geographic location of facilities, but the variations are not consistent; for example, workers in different state-owned factories can have very different labor standards applied to their workplaces, just the opposite of what one would expect.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement