This Week in Labor Rights 2018–04–22

Scott Douglas Jacobsen
6 min readApr 23, 2018

By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

““Burdensome regulations also make it more expensive for firms to rearrange their workforce to accommodate changing technologies,” the report noted.

In a major blow to labor rights, the World Bank in its annual flagship report, World Development Report, has called for the credit-states or “poor countries” to have fewer workers’ regulations, like eliminating a requirement for minimum wage, allowing the employers to fire workers without cause, and repealing laws limiting abusive employment contract terms.

The World Bank Report makes urgent policy recommendations to governments, and in its working draft it raised concerns over the growing use of artificial intelligence, and automation which it says would impact the workers’ force and their wages significantly.

Peter Bakvis, Washington representative for the International Trade Union Confederation, told the Guardian, that the proposals were harmful, retrograde and out of sync with the shared-prosperity agenda put forward by the bank’s president Jim Yong Kim.”


“The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 11 held a rally Saturday afternoon in partnership with Fuerza Laboral and Rhode Island Jobs With Justice at the site of Trilogy Development‘s Station Row project being built by Tocci Construction at Smith and Canal Streets in Providence.

Trilogy has received $5.6 million in public subsidies in the form of a Tax Stabilization Agreement (TSA) from the City of Providence, but, say leaders of the Saturday rally, Trilogy and Tocci have “sadly decided to use the broken model of open shop sub contracting,” adding, “Construction workers employed in the open shop model are at a greater risk of suffering substandard wages and benefits.””


“Organized labor managed an increasingly rare feat on Monday — a political victory — when its allies turned back a Senate measure aimed at rolling back labor rights on tribal lands.

The legislation, called the Tribal Labor Sovereignty Act, would have exempted enterprises owned and operated by Native American tribes from federal labor standards, even for employees who were not tribal citizens.

The A.F.L.-C.I.O. said passage of the measure, the subject of several years of tribal lobbying, would have amounted to the most aggressive erosion of labor protections since 1940s.”


“Labor rights groups yesterday protested against the American Chamber of Commerce in Taipei (AmCham) for what they called its pressuring of the government into relaxing labor standards, urging workers to join a march advocating workers’ rights on Labor Day next month.

About 30 members of various labor groups rallied in front of AmCham’s office on Minsheng E Road in Taipei, holding banners and shouting: “Taiwanese are dying from overwork as American bosses swim in cash.”

“We believe AmCham played a major role in lobbying for the current version of the Labor Standards Act (勞動基準法), which is expected to increase death from overwork,” Taiwan Higher Education Union researcher Chen Po-chien (陳柏謙) said.”


“PITTSBURGH, April 3, 2018 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard issued the following statement in conjunction with the release of a letter sent to USTR Robert Lighthizer yesterday regarding proposed labor law reforms in Mexico.

“Correcting the fundamental flaws in NAFTA first requires that workers in Mexico be afforded the internationally recognized workers’ rights to allow them to share in the fruits of their labor. Today’s system in Mexico essentially blocks the creation of free trade unions for the vast majority of workers. This is detrimental to them as well as to workers in the United States and Canada. Mexico’s dismal labor rights regime continues to be the driving force for offshoring by multinational companies profiting at the expense of workers.

“Last year, Mexico adopted constitutional reforms that were to lay the base for improving workers’ rights, most importantly to eliminate so-called protection contracts and to allow secret ballot elections so that workers can choose their own representatives. These employer-developed contracts have been imposed on workers without their knowledge and without their input. But, these constitutional reforms must be implemented by changes to Mexico’s labor laws. The changes that are before the Mexican Senate do not faithfully implement the constitutional changes. Instead they would only cement in place an unacceptable system.”


“The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not murdered 50 years ago this week at a posh gathering of billionaire campaign donors or at retreat for corporate CEOs. King, the Nobel Peace Prize–winning campaigner for economic and social justice whose who was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968, died while defending the right of public employees to organize labor unions and to fight for the preservation of public services.

This inconvenient truth is sometimes obscured by the historical rewrite men, who would have us believe that King’s transformative mission should today be recalled in only the narrowest of historical contexts.

But there was nothing narrow about King’s advocacy. His was a comprehensive activism that extended far beyond the boundaries of the movement he championed to end segregation in the American South and, eventually, in the great cities of the North. King’s most famous address, the “I Have a Dream” speech, was delivered at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom — a historic event that explicitly linked the social and economic demands of campaigners for civil rights and economic justice.”


“A mixture of disbelief and disapointment descended on the Prakanong Court in Bangkok on Monday, March 26, after it ordered British human rights activist Andy Hall (main picture) to pay 10 million baht (€260,000, $315,000) in damages for defamation to a Thai company — Natural Fruit — he alleged had abused migrant Myanmar workers.

“This verdict casts a dark shadow over recent positive progress the Thai government and Thai industry have made to improve migrant worker conditions,” Hall, currently in Nepal, told DW.

Hall left Thailand in 2016, citing intolerable legal harassment after another company, poultry producer Thammakaset Farm, sued him in a different case. He doesn’t know when he might be able to return to Thailand, though he has filed a countersuit against Natural Fruit.”


“Taipei, April 21 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed Saturday Taiwan’s commitment to upholding human rights and said that relevant agencies will continue to pass and strengthen laws to ensure that workers’ rights, including those of migrant workers, are protected.

MOFA made the statement in response to the U.S. Department of State’s 2017 Human Rights Reports released a day earlier, in which the one for Taiwan pointed out concerns about the working conditions of migrant workers in Taiwan.

According to the report, “the approximately 600,000 foreign workers, primarily from Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand, were vulnerable to exploitation.””


Washington — More than 300 employees who clean the Mashantucket Pequot tribe’s Foxwoods Resort Casino will decide on Friday if they want to unionize and reject tribal arguments against that idea.

The vote on unionizing is the culmination of a long campaign for Boston-based Unite Here New England Joint Board. “We’ve been organizing for more than a year,” said Ethan Snow, Unite Here political director.

If the janitors and other cleaners vote to join the union, as Snow expects, they will join other Foxwoods casino workers represented by unions, including dealers, bartenders and beverage servers, skilled mechanics and slot technicians. The tribal fire department also is represented by a union.”


Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal.



Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen supports science and human rights. Website: