The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has awarded a $5 million cooperative agreement to the American Center for International Labor Solidarity to improve workers’ rights in agricultural supply chains in Honduras and Guatemala, and the garment sector in El Salvador.
Administered by DOL’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs, the project will prioritize underserved communities and include a focus on gender and racial equity to address the systemic violation of internationally recognized workers’ rights in the agricultural and garment, or “maquila,” sectors in those countries.
The American Center for International Labor Solidarity will work with existing workers’ organizations in Central America to help them represent and advocate effectively for agricultural and maquila workers. The project will educate workers at the grassroots level and help them exercise their rights, build organizational capacity and help ensure worker-led participation in negotiations and dialogue.
The agreement is part of a more than $20 million commitment to promote respect for and compliance with labor rights in the region, and a component of the Biden-Harris administration’s Root Causes of Migration Strategy. The project aims to increase organizing and collective action for workers to exercise their rights, and help worker organizations train, represent and advocate for agricultural and maquila workers to garner better wages, working conditions and job security.
In addition, it also has goals of improving engagement between workers and government officials, as well as the private sector to negotiate, address and resolve workers’ rights concerns.
The project also includes legal support, advocacy campaign planning and dialogue exchanges between local workers’ organizations. In Guatemala and Honduras, the project will target workers in the palm, banana and melon sectors, while in El Salvador the project will target workers in apparel factories.