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Why international labor standards?

NEA supports the International Labor Organization (ILO) in its efforts to overcome unjust workforce competition among nations by creating labor standards that are international in scope.

The ILO was founded in 1919 as part of the League of Nations. The United States, which joined in 1934, is one of the 168 member nations.

ILO members understand that any nation that adopts measures to improve its working conditions would find itself at a disadvantage in competition with other nations.

For this reason, the ILO sets international labor standards to control the inequities that result from corporations trying to locate where labor is cheapest.

After years of research, publishing, and document collecting, the ILO has developed the world's largest network of information on labor and social policy. The organization researches employment-related issues, organizes meetings, and publishes studies on every area of economic and social activity affecting workers' interests.

"While improved working and living conditions and the promotion of full employment remain the central aims of the organization," says NEA International Relations Director Jack DeMars, "the ILO also deals regularly with occupational safety and health, labor-management relations, women and migrant workers, social security, and other pressing social issues."

Each member nation sends a delegation to the annual International Labor Conference, which adopts the ILO budget, enacts labor standards, and discusses social and labor problems. The United States delegation consists of the Secretaries of Labor and State, a representative from the AFL-CIO, and one from the U.S. Council for International Business.

The ILO provides several types of training. ILO projects train managers in manufacturing, maintenance, transportation, distribution, construction, rural development, water supply, energy, and technology. The ILO also provides skill development and vocational training as well as running programs to teach trainers and instructors.

The ILO can't dictate to member nations. It can, however, monitor the performance of a nation, investigate complaints first-hand, issue findings of violation and, through publication and persuasion, bring desired changes in cases where national policies or conduct are unacceptable to the international community.

As a result of ILO investigations and other actions, more than 1,500 changes in national law and practices have been enacted.

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Title Annotation:National Education Association supports the International Labor Organization's efforts to create international labor standards
Publication:NEA Today
Date:Dec 1, 1993
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