Iowa Public Television


AFL-CIO Interested in Immigrant Labor Issues

posted on August 11, 2006

The AFL-CIO has joined forces with a network of immigrant day laborers to improve wages and working conditions for those who are hired off the street.

Under the plan, the AFL-CIO and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network will pursue minimum wage campaigns, safety at construction sites and legislation to criminalize employers who stiff the laborers.

A Rutgers University labor professor says whether the joint effort will eventually lead to full unionization of day workers will depend on how aggressively the AFL-CIO focuses on day labor issues and how the immigrant workers respond to organization efforts.

Labor union efforts are also underway with Wal-Mart stores in China. The retail giant asked to meet with the Asian country's sanctioned labor group after employees formed unions at five stores.

The request for talks with the All-China Federation of Trade Unions was Wal-Mart's first public move in response to union votes over the past two weeks. Neither Wal-Mart nor the union would disclose the topic of talks.

About 26 percent of China's 150,000 foreign-financed companies have official labor unions.

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