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Labor rights experts weigh in on worker exploitation in global supply chains and the Worker-driven Social Responsibility (WSR) model as a proven solution:

“It’s about shifting power, resources, and control… in ways that legally obligate companies to prioritize the needs and rights of workers.  Currently WSR is the only way in global supply chains to do that.”

“The implications… are massive… It is completely replicable, scalable, implementable…”

“…one of the best examples of worker-led labour rights change out there today…”

Earlier this month, Open Democracy, the online hub for a global discussion on democracy and human rights, published the first installment of a long-awaited research project titled, “The Future of Work.”  In an extensive article, Open Democracy pulled together the voices of twelve human rights leaders – hailing from China and India to Great Britain and the United States – for a “Round Table” discussion.  The co-authors of the piece teed up the conversation with this question: “How can workers and their allies shape a better future for work?”

The thoughtful discussion that followed – which began with the basic premise that the corporate social responsibility model has, by and large, failed miserably in protecting the rights of workers in global supply chains – weaved together decades of experience from labor rights experts from around the world.  Participants included ProDESC (a leading NGO at the center of Mexico’s courageous human rights movement), the US-based Solidarity Center, former U.S. Ambassador Lou CdeBaca (whose portfolio within the State Department under the Obama Administration was “to monitor and combat trafficking in persons”), the Worker-driven Social Responsibility Network, and of course, the CIW.

Today, we bring you highlights from Round Table discussion, which you can delve into fully over at the Open Democracy website.  We begin with a bit of background:

The Ford Foundation recently conducted an exploration of the changing nature of work globally. Some of the main findings which emerged from this two year project were captured via the publication of a recent report – Quality Work Worldwide – which advanced a number of overlapping strategies for improving protections against labour exploitation and vulnerability, and for enabling workers to more effectively participate in shaping their terms of employment. The report also identified a number of foundational challenges which were undermining the quality of work globally: 1) lack of accountability from companies, 2) global governance gaps, 3) limited action from national governments, and 4) insufficient power and voice for workers...

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