The International Labor Organization is one of the most promising vehicles through which to negotiate labor standards and help build national capacity to improve implementation and monitoring of those standards. China has been a member of the ILO since 1919 and has ratified four of the eight core conventions. The ILO maintains an office in China and has undertaken a variety of projects there, working with the All China Federation of Trade Unions, for example, on HIV/AIDS in the Workplace, and with the All China Women’s Federation on trafficking and labor exploitation.
Moreover, the ILO’s tripartite structure consisting of representation from government, employers and workers’ groups provides a context within which to advance the issue of labor standards in both the private and public sectors. The United States should therefore increase its financial support for the ILO as a whole as well as for targeted programs that the ILO undertakes in China to help improve labor standards there. Specifically, the United States needs to support the seven priorities the ILO and China have agreed to, including promoting international labor standards, strengthening social protection and improving labor dispute resolutions. The United States should help ensure that the ILO, together with China, closes prevailing gaps in Decent Work, including commitments to freedom of association, the formation of independent labor unions and genuine social dialogue.
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