Labor Program Aims to Make Trade Work for Working Families

Program will explore how to ensure that expanded world trade means better working conditions for all.

How can companies and countries work to ensure that expanded world trade means better working conditions and improved living standards for all?

Leaders in the global labor movement will explore that question at the Trade and Labor Issues Program during the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Seattle, Nov. 30 through Dec. 3.

The forum is one of a series of private sector programs set up by the Seattle Host Organization (SHO), which selected the AFL-CIO to structure and host the event. The program will be Wednesday, Dec. 1, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Westin Hotel.

"The current global trading system has failed working families," said John Sweeney, AFL-CIO president. "Under current international laws, it's easier to take trade action against a company that violates corporate patent laws than against a nation that uses child labor. We look forward to this opportunity to discuss how to make the global economy work for working families."

Sweeney and Bill Jordan, secretary-general of the International Coalition of Free Trade Unions, will welcome panelists who include labor leaders as well as government, academic and business representatives from around the world.

Discussion topics will include Worker' Rights and Development, Promoting Workers' Rights Around the World and New Rules in the Global Economy.

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