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Introduction

Over the past half century, the international flow of goods, services, and capital has grown rapidly. Globalization creates new economic, cultural, and social opportunities, but also poses the challenge of ensuring that workers throughout the world share in these opportunities. Responding to this challenge, the U.S. Government carries out a variety of policies and programs aimed at encouraging greater recognition of worker rights around the globe.1 The U.S. Department of State monitors worker rights abroad and reports on the status of those rights as part of its annual report to Congress in the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. Building on this history of monitoring and encouraging worker rights around the world, the Trade Act of 2002 includes on the list of overall trade negotiating objectives of the United States, “promote respect for worker rights.”2

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For example, U.S. laws governing the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) include provisions promoting worker rights. The GSP program is designed to boost the economies of some of the least developed nations by providing preferential, duty-free entry for more than 4,650 products from approximately 140 designated countries and territories. OPIC, a government agency, issues political risk insurance and loans to help U.S. businesses invest and compete in emerging markets and developing nations. By law, countries or companies that fail to provide workers with internationally recognized worker rights may be ineligible for GSP and/or OPIC benefits. More information on the GSP and OPIC programs can be found at <www.ustr.gov/gsp/general.shtml> and <www.opic>[1/27/2003].

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H.R. 3009, the Trade Act of 2002, Subtitle B, Section 2102.



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1 Introduction Over the past half century, the international flow of goods, services, and capital has grown rapidly. Globalization creates new economic, cultural, and social opportunities, but also poses the challenge of ensuring that workers throughout the world share in these opportunities. Responding to this challenge, the U.S. Government carries out a variety of policies and programs aimed at encouraging greater recognition of worker rights around the globe.1 The U.S. Department of State monitors worker rights abroad and reports on the status of those rights as part of its annual report to Congress in the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. Building on this history of monitoring and encouraging worker rights around the world, the Trade Act of 2002 includes on the list of overall trade negotiating objectives of the United States, “promote respect for worker rights.”2 1   For example, U.S. laws governing the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) include provisions promoting worker rights. The GSP program is designed to boost the economies of some of the least developed nations by providing preferential, duty-free entry for more than 4,650 products from approximately 140 designated countries and territories. OPIC, a government agency, issues political risk insurance and loans to help U.S. businesses invest and compete in emerging markets and developing nations. By law, countries or companies that fail to provide workers with internationally recognized worker rights may be ineligible for GSP and/or OPIC benefits. More information on the GSP and OPIC programs can be found at <www.ustr.gov/gsp/general.shtml> and <www.opic>[1/27/2003]. 2   H.R. 3009, the Trade Act of 2002, Subtitle B, Section 2102.

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Carrying out this commitment to worker rights requires an understanding of labor conditions and country-level compliance with international labor standards. The DOL has contracted with the NRC of the National Academies to enhance its understanding of these issues. (A list of acronyms used throughout this workshop summary can be found on page 69.) THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PROJECT The NRC has convened the Committee on Monitoring International Labor Standards to provide expert, science-based advice on monitoring compliance with international labor standards. The committee has undertaken a two-year project with multiple intersecting activities that will identify relevant, valid, reliable, and useful sources of country-level data on labor standards and incorporate them into a database tailored to the current and anticipated needs of the DOL’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs; assess the quality of existing and potential data and indicators that can be used to systematically monitor labor practices and the effectiveness of enforcement in order to determine compliance with national labor legislation and international standards; identify innovative measures to determine compliance with international labor standards on a country-by-country basis and to measure progress on improved labor legislation and enforcement; explore the relationship between labor standards compliance and national policies relating to human capital issues; and recommend sustainable reporting procedures to monitor countries’ progress toward implementation of international labor standards. The NRC will examine compliance with the international labor standards in the ILO’s 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at work (see Appendix D), and also acceptable conditions of work, as defined in U.S. trade law. Workshop on Quality of Information The committee is charged with assembling data on international labor standards and compliance and organizing these data into an easily acces

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sible, web-based format for use by the DOL. As one step in this process, the committee held a workshop in July 2002 to assess the quality of information and measures of progress towards compliance with international labor standards. This document summarizes the workshop. Reflecting the workshop agenda, this report focuses primarily on the availability and quality of information to measure compliance with four core international labor standards that were identified in 1998 by the ILO. The 1998 Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work called on the member nations of the ILO to promote the following four core principles (see Appendix D): freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor; the effective abolition of child labor; and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation. Before the workshop, experts wrote papers on information and indicators related to each of these four labor standards, as well as papers on general labor market data and information available from voluntary monitoring and reporting. In workshop sessions organized around these six topics, the experts presented their papers, which are available at the project website (<http://www7.nationalacademies.org/internationallabor/>). The goal of this workshop summary is to communicate the key ideas and themes that emerged from the workshop presentations and discussions. Because current research on international labor standards and compliance is exploratory in nature, those discussions did not lead to definitive conclusions and policy recommendations. However, we hope that this summary will contribute to the ongoing public debate and discussions about monitoring and reporting on labor rights. Although members of the Committee on Monitoring International Labor Standards identified speakers and developed the agenda of the workshop, they did not participate in writing this summary. This summary does not contain any deliberations, conclusions, or recommendations of the committee.

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WORKSHOP AGENDA In July, 2002, the National Academies’ Committee on Monitoring International Labor Standards held a workshop on information quality and measures of progress towards compliance with international labor standards. The agenda of the two-day workshop follows: WEDNESDAY, JULY 10, 2002 8:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast 8:30 a.m. Opening Remarks: Theodore Moran, Chair, Committee on Monitoring International Labor Standards, and Professor, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service 8:45 a.m. Building a Database of Labor Market Indicators Across Countries   Moderator: Howard Pack, Professor, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania   Presentation: Martín Rama, Lead Economist, Development Research Group, The World Bank, and Raquel Artecona, United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, “A Database of Labor Market Indicators across Countries” 9:20 a.m. Discussant: T.N. Srinivasan, Professor, Yale University 9:35 a.m. Questions from the Committee and the Audience 10:15 a.m. Break 10:30 a.m. Information and Measures of Progress, Session 1: Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining   Moderator: Theodore Moran   Presentation: Anthony Giles, Research Director, Commission for Labor Cooperation, presenting a paper by Lance Compa, Cornell University, “Data and Indicators to Measure Progress Toward Implementing Freedom of Association and the Right to Collective Bargaining”

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11:05 a.m. Discussant: Sandra Polaski, The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace 11:20 a.m. Presentation: Dwight Justice, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions 11:50 a.m. Questions from the Committee and the Audience 12:30 p.m. Lunch 1:30 p.m. Information and Measures, Session 2: The Elimination of All Forms of Forced or Compulsory Labor   Moderator: Heather White, Executive Director, Verité   Presentation: Kevin Bales, Director, Free the Slaves, and Professor, University of Surrey Roehampton, London, “Information and Measures of Forced Labor” 2:05 p.m. Discussant: Ann Jordan, Director, Initiative Against Trafficking in Persons, International Human Rights Law Group 2:20 p.m. Questions from the Committee and the Audience 3:00 p.m. Break 3:15 p.m. Information and Measures, Session 3: The Elimination of Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation   Moderator: Kimberly Ann Elliott, Research Fellow, Institute for International Economics   Presentation: Constance Thomas, Section Chief, Equality and Employment Branch, International Labour Office, “Information and Measures of Progress towards the Elimination of Discrimination” 3:50 p.m. Discussant: Bama Athreya, Deputy Director, International Labor Rights Fund 4:05 p.m. Questions from the Committee and the Audience 4:45 p.m. Adjourn Day 1

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THURSDAY, JULY 11, 2002 8:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast 8:30 a.m. Information and Measures of Progress, Session 4: The Effective Abolition of Child Labor   Moderator: Thea Lee, Assistant Director, Public Policy Department, AFL-CIO   Presentation: Amy Ritualo, Data Analyst, International Labour Office, “Measuring Child Labor” 9:05 a.m. Discussant: Harry Patrinos, The World Bank 9:20 a.m. Questions from the Committee and the Audience 9:50 a.m. Break 10:00 a.m. Voluntary Labor Monitoring and Reporting   Moderator: Edward E. Potter, International Labor Counsel, U.S. Council for International Business   Presentation: Dara O’Rourke, Assistant Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “Voluntary Labor Regulation: Information from Non-Governmental Labor Monitoring Systems” 10:35 a.m. Discussant: Dusty Kidd, Vice President for Compliance, Nike, Inc. 10:45 a.m. Discussant: David Roe, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights 10:55 a.m. Discussant: Alice Tepper Marlin, President, Social Accountability International 11:05 a.m. Questions from the Committee and the Audience 11:30 a.m. Plenary Discussion: • What criteria might the committee use in assessing data and information on labor rights and labor conditions around the world?

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  • What benchmarks or indicators might the committee use for measuring countries’ progress toward implementation of the fundamental rights and principles at work? 12:05 p.m. Concluding Remarks: Theodore Moran 12:15 p.m. Lunch and Adjourn