Fast approaching is a national day of action for unions and their supporters: April 4, the anniversary of Martin Luther King's assassination during the Memphis sanitation workers' strike. It's a good time to remind your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers that workers' rights are human rights. Amnesty International is helping spread that word.
Amnesty International, the human rights watchdog, is urging nine U.S. states to abandon legislation that would harm workers' lives. Here’s a firm statement from Shane Enright, Amnesty's trade union adviser:
State governors must withdraw support for these measures which, if adopted, would violate international law…We are seeing communities insisting on social justice, economic rights and personal liberties against powerful vested interests. Fundamental human rights are at stake, and we stand in solidarity with the US labour movement in this struggle.
On its website, Amnesty mentions several states where corporate-backed politicians are attacking worker rights: Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma and Tennessee, and of course, Wisconsin.
Under international law, all workers have a human right to organize and bargain collectively. This is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and in conventions adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO).