Click for next page ( 2


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



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 1
1 Introduction Over the past half-century, the international flow of goods, services, and capital has grown rapidly. Globalization creates new economic, cul- tural, 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 workers' rights around the globe.1 The U.S. Department of State monitors workers' rights abroad and reports on the status of those rights as part of its annual report to Congress in the Coon try Reports on Human Rights Practices. Building on this history of monitoring and encouraging workers' 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 1For example, U.S. laws governing the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) include provisions promoting workers' 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 ap- proximately 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 workers' rights may be ineligible for GSP and/or OPIC ben- efits. More information on the GSP and OPIC programs can be found at www.ustr.gov/gsp/ general.shtml and www.opic.gov. 2H.R. 3009, the Trade Act of 2002, Subtitle B. Section 2102. 1

OCR for page 1
2 NATIONAL LEGAL FRAMEWORKS Carrying out this commitment to workers' rights requires an under- standing of labor conditions and country-level compliance with interna- tional labor standards. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has con- tracted with the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies to enhance its understanding of these issues. THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PROJECT The NRC has convened the Committee on Monitoring International Labor Standards (CMILS) to provide expert, science-based advice on moni- toring 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 DOL's Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB); 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 legis- lation and international standards; identify innovative measures to determine compliance with inter- national 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 substantive scope of the CMILS's study includes national compli- ance with the international standards identified in the 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which are freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining; 2. the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labor; 3. the effective abolition of child labor; and 4. the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.

OCR for page 1
INTRODUCTION 3 Additionally, the committee will examine issues related to "acceptable con- ditions of work," as defined in U.S. trade law, including minimum wages, hours of work, and occupational safety and health. Workshop on National Legal Frameworks and Enforcement Mechanisms The committee is charged with assembling information on country compliance with international labor standards and organizing these data into an easily accessible, web-based format for use by the DOL. As one step in this process, the committee held a workshop in November 2002 to discuss national legal frameworks and the challenges of measuring the ex- tent to which international standards have been incorporated into national laws and practices. The goal of this workshop summary is to communicate the key ideas and themes that emerged from the workshop presentations and discussions. Participants in the workshop were selected on the basis of their exper- tise in international, comparative, and domestic law, as well as their practi- cal experiences with monitoring and assessment programs of international institutions and the U.S. government. Several presenters prepared papers for the workshop, which are available at the project website, www.nas.edu/ internationallabor. Although members of the CMILS identified speakers and developed the agenda of the workshop, they did not participate in writing this sum- mary. This summary does not contain any deliberations, conclusions, or recommendations of the committee but presents the content of each . . . . partlclpant s presentation.