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Human rights and Labor rights


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Human rights and Labor rights

  1. 1. At The Crossroads: Where Human Rightsand Labor Rights Intersect Fareed Michelen Community Outreach Specialist NYS AFL-CIO
  2. 2. Definitions• “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”• LEXICON: the vocabulary of a language, an individual speaker or group of speakers, or a subject (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)• Subjective Terminology: – Middle Class – Terrorist
  3. 3. Human Rights• Encyclopedia Britannica:  rights that belong to an individual or group of individuals as a consequence of being human. They refer to a wide continuum of values or capabilities thought to enhance human agency and declared to be universal in character, in some sense equally claimed for all human beings.• “It is undeniable that every human being is entitled to living space, daily bread, and the protection of the law as a common birthright; these are fundamentals and should not be handed out as an act of charity. ”  - Alfred Delp, S.J. Anti-Nazi German Jesuit Priest
  4. 4. L abor R i ghts• No standard definition.• Popular definition: a group of legal rights and claimed human rights having to do with labor relations between workers and their employers, usually obtained under labor and employment law.• Pertains largely to laws about work conditions and ability to unionize.
  5. 5. History of Human Rights• Started in Middle East and Southeast Asia – Code of Hammurabi 1772 BC • Babylonian Empire • First written rules governing society (including trade and commerce) • Lays out basic rights of man – Cyrus Cylinder 539 BC • Achaemenid Empire • Decree from King Cyrus after he conquered Babylon • Disbands slavery, supports freedom of religion, and bans ethnic conflict – Edict of Ashoka 269 BC • Mayuran Empire • First evidence of Buddhism • Defines how humans should interact in peace
  6. 6. Human Rights= Rights of• Man European and American concept based on previous beliefs• Concept Based on Rights of Certain Citizens• Enlightenment Period – John Locke – Voltaire• French Revolution – Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen• American Revolution – Declaration of Independence – The Rights of Man – Thomas Paine
  7. 7. Modern Human Rights• Phrase used by allies not oppressed group• Pertains to barbarous acts committed on large populations, supported by a particular regime• Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Adopted in 1948 by the United Nations in Paris – “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”      – Art. 1
  8. 8. H i stor i cal E xamples• Nazi Holocaust• Armenian Genocide• Darfur Genocide• The Parsley Massacre• Khmer Rouge• Srebrenica Massacre• World Wide Indigenous Genocide• Chattel Slavery
  9. 9. D ebated V i olati ons• USSR/Russia• China• The Kurds• Hiroshima and Nagusaki• Contras• Guantanamo Bay• Palestine
  10. 10. History of L abor R i ghts• Labor Rights have morphed as labor has evolved – Agrarian: Feudalist Society – Industrial: Imperialist-Capitalist Society – Post-Industrial: Neo-Capitalist Society• Code of Hammurabi  – Discusses relationship between employer and employees• Original 3 Classifications of workers – Skilled Craftsmen – Farmers – Slaves
  11. 11. Sk i l led Cr aftsmen• Original Building Trades – Skilled Trade that required training – Trade taught through apprenticeship – Industry regulated standards – Blacksmiths, Masons• Guilds – Original outline for union – Non-royal upper class – Blamed for Illuminati
  12. 12. F ar mer s• Largest Population of workers – Many hands to work the fields – Heritage based institution • Family members supplied work force – Work standards dictated by seasons and patriarch• Modern Farming – To this day the farming industry has been allowed to self-regulate and establish work conditions. – Farm Workers Bill
  13. 13. Slaves• Term and class of worker that has evolved over time as governments, society, and labor has changed• First class of worker that Labor Laws were written for – All rulers established terms and conditions• Slaves were originally captured people – This includes original African slaves – Chattel Slavery is exclusively American Slave is derived from Slav of Eastern Europe
  14. 14. Original Slaves• Have existed since the expansion of empires – As agrarian societies expanded onto other peoples land, those that did not assimilate became slaves• Not property: forced labor – Most empires developed mechanisms for slaves to achieve freedom – Slaves could own property or marry non-slaves – Since not property, rules governing them were original Labor laws as they were set by government Slaves Didn’t Build the Pyramids
  15. 15. Revolutions Make Labor Rights• 4 Historic revolutions – Peasants’ Revolution – Slave Revolutions – European Industrial Revolution – American Industrial Revolution• Revolutions marked time when laws and changes were forced –  As commerce and production changed so did Labor rights and laws
  16. 16. Peasants’ Revolt• British Peasants’ Revolt of 1381 – Peasants worked on land owned by Lord – Different from farms because Lord dictated Labor standards – Revolt for better work conditions and wages• Stands as first Labor based revolt by non- slaves – Was not grounded in the politics of the time but in the treatment of the workers
  17. 17. Slave Revolts
  18. 18. Marxism• European industrialization created new means of productions – New governments, bosses, and economic ideology• Capitalism – Belief that consumer competition will create social equality• Marxism – Meant to counter capitalism – Belief that those that create production must have equal say in society
  19. 19. Haymarket Riot• Chicago 1886 – Workers striking for an 8 hour day – Company hires instigator to throw bombs – Government ships Southern soldiers as National Guard – Workers blamed and 8 organizers hung for riot “If you think that by hanging us you can stamp out the labor movement – the movement from which the downtrodden millions, the millions who toil and live in want and misery – the wage slaves – expect salvation – if this is your opinion, then hang us! You, in your blindness, think you can stop the tidal wave of civilization and human emancipation by placing a few policemen, a few Gatling guns, and some regiments of militia on the shore – you think you can frighten the rising waves back into the unfathomable depths whence they have arisen, by erecting a few
  20. 20. Modern L abor R i ghts• May Day – Europe’s Labor Day in honor of Haymarket Riots – Seen as catalyst for American Labor Movement – Demands became Federal standard• Labor Movement – Based on principles of Marxism – Those that produce have a say Labor Day was created so Americans wouldn’t honor May Day
  21. 21. Collaboration• United Nations – International Labour Organization – Human Rights Council• Causes – Civil Rights – Anti-Apartheid – Marriage Equality – Free Trade Agreements International Labor Solidarity – Dunnes 12
  22. 22. Contracts• Goes farther then Labor laws – Written by workers not lobbyists – Written to protect the weakest person• Trend Setting – MLK Day – Non-Discrimination Clause – Healthcare and Pension access
  23. 23. • Immigration – Cheap Labor vs. Local Hires• Environmentalism – Conservation vs. Employment• International Issues – Outsourcing – Palestine – Wars
  24. 24. Constituency Groups• “Conscience of the Labor Movement” – Represent disenfranchised members – Born out of opposing issues AFL-CIO took• Autonomous but friendly – Can take positions and stances unions can’t or won’t – Bridge between communities and unions
  25. 25. • Class Warfare – Anti-Marxist position• The Purges of 1950 – Post WWII purging of Marxist Labor Leaders – Coincided with refusal to organize the south• Middle Class – Term developed to replace Working Class• Occupy Wall Street – Distanced solidarity
  26. 26. My Enemy’s Enemy is My Friend• Out Organized – Neo-Capitalist Corporations are united – New weapons of oppression • IMF, WB, Super PAC’s• No Longer an Island – Reaching out to other organizations – Building coalitions – Focusing on Greater Good