At the International Trade Union Confederation conference in Berlin this week, the organization's General Secretary Sharan Burrow made an announcement that would have been unthinkable a generation ago. Workers in the U.S. face systematic violation of their rights by some government officials and/or corporations that are engaged in serious efforts to threaten and crush workers' rights, according to the ITUC.
Sharan Burrow (right), general secretary of the ITUC, opens the "global workers' Parliament."
The United States of America once built a middle class that was the envy of the world largely on the strength of how many of its people belonged to unions. The U.S. grew to be the world's leading economy as membership in unions grew. Now, with systematic abuse of workers' rights and the speed with which it is eliminating private sector unions, the U.S. will be keeping different company.
"Countries such as Denmark and Uruguay led the way through their strong labor laws," Burrow said. "A country's level of development proved to be a poor indicator of whether it respected basic rights to bargain collectively, strike for decent conditions, or simply join a union at all."