Global Labor JusticeInternational Labor Rights Forum joins the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF), the  International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and trade unions around the world in condemning the guilty verdicts and prison sentences in Cambodia for nine labor rights defenders and leaders of the Labour Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees (LRSU) including LRSU President Chhim Sithar.  The charges are rooted in lawful union actions related to an ongoing labor dispute at the NagaWorld Casino Hotel. Organizing and campaigning for access to national law and international labor standards for workers should never be a crime.  If this verdict and sentences remain, they risk harm to those charged and sentenced and a broader chilling effect on lawful worker organizing, and an increase in labor rights violations.  

GLJ-ILRF also adds its voice to calls on NagaCorp and its investors to resolve the underlying labor issues including reinstating terminated workers and engaging in good-faith negotiations with LRSU.  As part of this, NagaCorp should also join the calls for Chimm Sithar to be released and the withdrawal of all charges against her and the other LRSU leaders for their labor rights defender efforts.  

For more information on the labor rights struggle at NagaWorld and regular updates, please see the newly released IUF’s web resources which gives the public a detailed history of this labor dispute and is available in English, Khmer and Chinese.

You can read the joint statement from the IUF and ITUC below.

Contact: Rachel Cohen,


Global Labor JusticeInternational Labor Rights Forum (GLJ – ILRF) is a non-governmental organization that works transnationally to advance policies and laws that protect decent work; to strengthen freedom of association and workers’ ability to advocate for their rights; and to hold corporations accountable for labor rights violations in their supply chains. 

May 25, 2023

IUF and ITUC Statement on the Verdicts and Prison Sentences for LRSU leaders including LRSU President Chhim Sithar by Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Court of First Instance 

The International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), collectively representing over 200 million workers around the world, strongly condemn the guilty verdicts and prison sentences for 9 IUF affiliate LRSU leaders including President Chhim Sithar. We call on NagaCorp to use its considerable influence to persuade the Government of Cambodia to change course immediately, to release Sister Sithar and to drop all charges against her and the other LRSU leaders. We further call on NagaCorp to reinstate the terminated workers and members of LRSU and to negotiate in good faith with the union. 

Nine members of the Labor Rights Supported Union of Khmer Employees of Nagaworld (LRSU), including LRSU President Chhim Sithar were convicted today for incitement to commit a felony under Articles 494 and 495 of the Cambodian Criminal Code after engaging in a peaceful strike at NagaWorld casino in Phnom Penh. 5 were given 1.5 year prison sentences, 3 were given 1 year suspended sentences, and LRSU President Chhim Sithar was given the maximum sentence of 2 years. Local NGO’s have documented the regular use of these articles to charge and jail activists. The strike was in response to union-busting at NagaWorld casino where in April 2021, the company used the economic impacts of COVID-19 as an excuse to terminate 1,329 workers. 1,100 of these were LRSU members and activists, including the union’s entire leadership. The strike followed all legal procedures and came after numerous attempts to negotiate in good faith with the company were rebuffed. 

From December 31, 2021 to the end of the first week of January 2022, 29 striking workers were arrested. Nine were charged with incitement to commit a felony. One of the nine was released on bail, while the other eight remained in detention. The other workers were released on bail in March 2022. Since February 2022, Cambodian authorities have become more hostile and violent toward the strikers, attacking and harassing them, causing injuries such as black eyes, bloody noses, broken bones, and, in one case, a miscarriage. On April 3, LRSU president Chhim Sithar and other LRSU leaders received a death threat, left as a text on the phone of the brother of one of the representatives. LRSU alerted the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and other embassies about the threat. On November 26, 2022, LRSU president Chhim Sithar was arrested and jailed at the Phnom Penh airport upon returning from the ITUC Congress in Melbourne, Australia. Authorities claimed she had breached her bail conditions by traveling abroad. She had, however, never been shown her bail conditions, and had previously traveled to Thailand without incident. 

In March 2022, the IUF filed a complaint with the International Labour Organisation’s Committee on Freedom of Association for violations of ILO Conventions 87 and 98. As a result, the ILO has issued a formal decision urging the Government of Cambodia to ensure that NagaCorp respect labour and trade union rights. In April 2023, the IUF also filed OECD complaints against NagaCorp’s key bondholders for their failure to conduct due diligence under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The IUF is launching a new campaign website about the struggle at NagaWorld today which gives the public a detailed history of this struggle and is available in English, Khmer and Chinese. 

Global Labor JusticeInternational Labor Rights Forum stands in solidarity with the unions and workers fighting for justice at Starbucks.
AFL-CIO, SEIU, Workers United Slam Starbucks for ‘Bluewashing’ in Bombshell ILO Complaint Accusing Coffee Giant of Exploiting Weaknesses in US Labor Law to Squash Worker Organizing

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Despite company’s claims, ‘anti-union crusade’ runs afoul of UN-backed international labor standards to protect workers

ILO filing comes as Starbucks investors support third-party audit of company’s labor practices, U.S. Congress cracks down on its union busting 

GENEVA — Starbucks has repeatedly defended its unprecedented, unpopular anti-union campaign by claiming it commits to the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) “Core Labor Standards,” including principles of freedom of association. A new blockbuster complaint filed Thursday with the ILO – a United Nations agency whose mandate is to promote decent work for all by setting international labor standards – squashes the coffee giant’s claims as a hypocritical fiction.

Jointly filed by the American Federal of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and Workers United (an affiliate of SEIU), the 36-page complaint outlines in great detail how Starbucks is exploiting weaknesses in U.S. labor law in an effort to squash workers’ organizing efforts and deny them a seat at the bargaining table. At the same time, the company is engaging in “bluewashing” in a failed attempt to create a public appearance of social responsibility by association with the United Nations (and its blue flag) without actually engaging in socially responsible conduct.

“This complaint shows clearly that Starbucks does not abide by any kind of internationally recognized labor standards. Starbucks can no longer hide behind the ILO to justify its unpopular – and illegal – anti-union campaign. Starbucks’ bluewashing stops here,” said Mary Kay Henry, international president of SEIU. “The complaint also shows how US labor law fails to protect workers against greedy corporations. It’s time to rewrite the rules to create a new economy where everyone can thrive.”

The complaint highlights the ways in which U.S. law and practice fail to comport with ILO standards and how Starbucks continues to exploit those shortcomings to attack workers’ organizing and bargaining rights.

“U.S labor law and its enforcement steps are woefully inadequate to deal with a big, powerful employer determined to crush union organizing among its employees by interfering with their freedom of association in violation of ILO standards,” the complaint reads. “Starbucks’ anti-union crusade makes it an outlier even among American employers who are well known for their harsh antipathy toward trade unions. U.S. labor law does not provide the [National Labor Relations Board] with the tools needed to halt it.”

The complaint details how since January 2021, workers in more than 280 Starbucks stores have voted in favor of union representation. None have achieved a collective agreement or are even close to achieving it. In the course of the organizing movement, Starbucks has fired nearly 200 union activists and made multiple threats of reprisal against workers if they vote in favor of union representation, according to the complaint.

The unions ask the ILO to convene an on-the-spot “mission,” meeting with Starbucks workers and their union, Starbucks management, U.S. government officials, and other relevant actors to investigate Starbucks’ anti-worker conduct. If the Biden administration invites such a mission, it would be the first time in history that the UN agency would conduct a mission in the United States, and a clear indication that Starbucks’ anti-union conduct falls outside accepted international norms.

“The freedom to stand together with co-workers to have a union on the job is internationally recognized as a fundamental human right,” said AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler. “This complaint underscores the vital importance of holding corporations like Starbucks accountable for undercutting the freedom of association and harming workers who are simply organizing for basic fairness and a better life for their families.”

Falsely Claiming the UN Flag 

Starbucks has repeatedly invoked international labor standards to defend its interference with workers’ freedom of association. The company has embraced ILO standards in public statements and, most recently, in a statement to Starbucks shareholders opposing a proposal for an independent third-party report on the company’s response to employees’ organizing efforts. In the statement, the company tries to explain away its anti-union campaign by arguing the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association “confirmed that employers’ enjoy” a right to freedom of expression.

“The Committee has not confirmed that employers enjoy an international right to wage vitriolic campaigns of fear and intimidation against workers’ organizing efforts in the name of freedom of expression,” the complaint reads. “Starbucks is clearly trying to wrap itself in the mantle of the ILO and the Committee on Freedom of Association to justify its anti-union campaign conduct.”

The complaint cites three main shortcomings of US labor law that Starbucks is exploiting:

  • The National Labor Relations Act violates ILO standards on its face by allowing employers to interfere with workers’ freedom of association, including through tactics like captive-audience meetings.
  • Even where key elements of U.S. law align with ILO standards on their face, the absence of effective, timely, and dissuasive remedies available to the National Labor Relations Board violates principles of freedom of association by allowing Starbucks to violate workers’ organizing and bargaining rights with virtual impunity.
  • The lack of “effective and expeditious procedures” and “rapid appeal procedures” required by ILO standards allows Starbucks to continue interfering with workers’ freedom of association and to use excessive delays to frustrate organizing and bargaining rights.

“This complaint shows, in stark detail, how Starbucks has taken advantage of those aspects of US labor law that fail to comply with international standards on freedom of association to deny its workers the right to join a union, contrary to the company’s assertions,” said Deborah Greenfield, former ILO deputy director-general for policy. “Until the US amends its laws, the cards are stacked against workers in all sectors of our economy who try to exercise their right to freedom of association, despite the vigorous enforcement efforts of the National Labor Relations Board.”

The complaint highlights stunning examples of failures of US law and case studies of how Starbucks has exploited the loopholes to silence workers. It outlines how Starbucks is systematically contesting election results and appealing administrative law judges’ decisions, thus interfering with workers’ freedom of association. It outlines a reality in which an undeterred Starbucks continues to wage its unprecedented anti-union campaign:

  • Workers begin to organize, and Starbucks interferes with workers’ organizing rights.
  • Workers and unions seek representation elections and file unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB, but Starbucks’ interference continues apace.
  • [NLRB] Regional directors find merit in charges, and Starbucks’ interference continues apace.
  • Administrative law judges find Starbucks guilty of unlawful interference, and Starbucks’ interference continues apace.
  • Starbucks challenges, appeals, loses appeals, re-appeals, and its interference continues apace.

“If the U.S. labor law system functioned in reasonable compliance with ILO standards, NLRB actions and decisions in early cases would serve to deter future violations,” the complaint reads. “But the opposite has happened here. The NLRB and ALJs, and courts have acted, but Starbucks is unrelenting in its nationwide campaign to destroy workers’ organizing. Instead of slowing and halting its violations, Starbucks is accelerating them.”

“Unscrupulous employers like Starbucks are weaponizing labor laws. Starbucks is appealing and delaying in an attempt to circumvent our US laws and thwart organizing and bargaining rights,” said Lynne Fox, international president of Workers United. “We all know what’s going on here. Starbucks is playing against the clock, and its legal strategy is to delay justice until employees become disillusioned with the process and give up the right to organize and bargain. Starbucks is playing with people’s lives and livelihoods. Starbucks has invoked ILO standards to defend its behavior, and this complaint will bring an end to that.”

Extra Shot of Trouble for Starbucks 

Since former Howard Schultz stepped down as Starbucks CEO, the coffee giant has come under pressure to turn the page from Schultz’ union-busting tactics and give workers a true seat at the table rather than the metaphorical empty chair they leave for workers at shareholder meetings.

In April, Starbucks shareholders overwhelmingly voted in favor of a third-party audit of the company’s labor practices, demonstrating a clear desire among investors for the coffee giant to reset its approach to the baristas’ historic union organizing effort. Immediately after the vote, Starbucks partners and community allies turned up the heat on the Starbucks Board of Directors in a series of national actions, demanding they guide the company in a new direction under CEO Laxman Narasimhan and respect the right of workers to organize and collectively bargain for a strong contract without fear of retaliation.

Since December 2021, more than 7,500 Starbucks workers have organized nearly 300 stores, demanding Starbucks respect workers’ fundamental right to organize and bargain a fair contract with their workers.

In this same time period, regional offices of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) have issued more than 70 official complaints against Starbucks, prosecuting the company for over 1,300 specific alleged violations of federal labor law, including accusations that former CEO Howard Schultz personally threatened a worker who expressed support for organizing. To date, NLRB Administrative Law Judges have issued nine decisions, eight of which collectively found that the company has committed 130 violations, including illegal monitoring and firing organizerscalling the police on workers, and outright closing a store that recently attempted to organize.

In March, the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) heard testimony from baristas Maggie Carter and Jaysin Saxton about the illegal retaliation they faced for organizing with Starbucks Workers United and grilled former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz about his role in leading one of the most vicious union-busting campaigns in U.S. history. Schultz only agreed to testify under threat of subpoena. Ahead of the hearing, U.S. Senator Cory Booker and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) sent a letter to Schultz lambasting the company’s “blatant anti-union behavior” and calling on him to bargain in good faith with his workers.



Phoebe Rogers,, 914-343-9063

Shannon Garth Rhodes,, 832-545-1851

GLJ-ILRF Condemns and Mourns the Murder of Alex Dolorosa, Call Center Organizer with BIEN in the Philippines and Advocate for LGBTQ+ Workers

April 27, 2023

WASHINGTON DC: We at Global Labor JusticeInternational Labor Rights Forum express our outrage and deep sadness about the brutal murder of labor rights defender Alex Dolorosa, a call center organizer with the BPO Industry Employee Network (BIEN) in the Philippines and an advocate for LGBTQ+ workers.  Alex was a visionary organizer, colleague, and friend of GLJ-ILRF in building an inclusive labor movement that could deliver dignity and justice for workers in the Philippines and across borders.

Alex was a union organizer and paralegal with BIEN in Bacolod City, Philippines, which has worked closely with Communications Workers of America (CWA) and UNI Global Union on organizing and campaigns to support internationally recognized labor rights for call center workers on international value chains of U.S. and European multinational companies. Alex was also a dedicated campaigner for the rights of LGBTQ+ people in the industry with the BPO Employees Gay, Lesbian, and Allies for Genuine Acceptance and Democracy (BEGLAD).

After working in call centers and volunteering with BIEN since 2016, Alex became a full-time employee, organizer, and paralegal officer of BIEN. Because of their labor movement efforts, he and other BIEN leaders and staff and others in the Philippine labor movement faced threats and surveillance on multiple occasions.  In response to these threats, Alex took precautions – including moving houses in an attempt to stay safe.  But, like his union siblings, he refused to allow the threats to keep him from his commitments to organize for rights and dignity for call center workers.

On Monday morning, Alex was found dead behind a chicken coop, beaten and stabbed 31 times.

We share our deepest condolences with Alex’s family, friends, and union.  We will honor Alex’s memory by continuing to stand with BIEN and the trade union movement in the Philippines in the struggle for internationally recognized labor rights and human rights.

In the wake of this tragedy, we are disappointed that the Biden Administration will welcome Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. for a White House visit on May 1, celebrated as International Workers’ Day around the world.

We renew our call for the Biden administration to condition U.S.-Philippine engagement, including on trade benefits, on rapid progress in the protection of labor and human rights defenders, and expansion of workers’ meaningful access to internationally recognized fundamental labor rights, including by:

  • Urging the Philippine government to implement the recommendations of the ILO Tripartite High-Level Mission, including an Executive Order establishing a Presidential Commission that includes independent worker representatives;
  • Urging and monitoring progress of a serious, impartial, and independent investigation of the killings of Alex Dolorosa, Manny Asuncion, and all other labor rights defenders.  The Philippine labor movement has called for a Truth Commission with worker representation empowered to provide justice and compensation to those attacked for advancing workers’ rights.
  • Urging the immediate abolition of the Philippine National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), the principal source of official red-tagging, as demanded by the Philippine labor movement in their joint report to the ILO High-Level Tripartite Mission.

GLJ-ILRF has long supported labor rights defenders in the Philippines through successive waves of violent repression. We and our allies filed petitions seeking the withdrawal of trade benefits from the Philippines in 1995, in 2007, and, with unions from across the U.S. and the Philippines, again in 2021.  We updated the 2021 petition with additional incidents from 2022, and in 2023, we wrote to Secretary Raimondo and Ambassador Tai, again urging action as part of the Biden Administration’s worker-centered trade and foreign policy agenda.  Each time, we highlighted the persistence of state-sponsored anti-labor violence, arbitrary arrests, and red-tagging targeting worker-activists, along with the impunity that shelters perpetrators.  We urged the International Labor Organization, the Philippine government, and U.S. authorities to protect internationally recognized labor rights, demand an end to red-tagging that generates violence and false arrests, and stop the repression of workers across the Philippines.

Our 2021 GSP petition, raising concerns about escalating violence against trade unionists in the Philippines and urging action by the Biden Administration, was elevated by the labor movements of the United States and the Philippines, with signatories such as:

Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU)
American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
American Postal Workers Union (APWU)
Communications Workers of America (CWA)
International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT)
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement
Workers of America (UAW)
United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW)
United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE)
Global Labor Justice-International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ-ILRF)
BPO Industry Employees’ Network (BIEN) (Philippines)
Council of Global Unions – Pilipinas (CGUP) (Philippines)
Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) (Philippines)
National Congress of Unions in the Sugar Industry in the Philippines (NACUSIP) (Philippines)
National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) (Philippines)
Nagkaisa Labor Coalition (NLC) (Philippines)
Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) (Philippines)
Partido Manggagawa (PM) (Philippines)
Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) (Philippines)
Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK) (Philippines)
Unified Filipino Service Workers (UFSW) (Philippines)

For more statements of solidarity, please see below:


Global Labor Justice International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ – ILRF) is a non-governmental organization that works transnationally to advance policies and laws that protect decent work; to strengthen freedom of association and workers’ ability to advocate for their rights; and to hold corporations accountable for labor rights violations in their supply chains.

For Immediate Release

March 28, 2023

Contact: Rachel Cohen,
Jeffrey Boyd, IUF,

Hundreds of Honduran Melon Workers Protest Unsafe Conditions, Call for Labor Rights 

Workers say they are organizing to improve conditions after recently facing toxic fumes, deadly truck accident and increasing workloads

Choluteca, Honduras –  Today hundreds of seasonal workers  marched on the Japanese-owned billion-dollar multinational fruit company Fyffes plc to deliver a petition signed by more than 1000 melon farmworkers demanding their international labor rights, including their right to form their own independent union. The march comes after multiple accidents have occurred, including workers being hospitalized from toxic fumes in a Fyffes packing area, and a worker who was recently hit by a truck and died on the job.

The workers, who are organizing with the independent farmworker union El Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Agroindustria y Similares (STAS), renewed calls for Fyffes, a leading exporter of fruit to the United States and Europe, to resume negotiations for a binding agreement to protect workers’ international labor rights. STAS is affiliated to the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers (IUF) and working in close partnership with Global Labor Justice – International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ-ILRF) to hold this transnational fruit company accountable in the US where the majority of the melons picked in Honduras are sold.

Workers say they need a union at Fyffes that will enable them to protect their health and safety on the job, bargain for fair wages and create more job security.

“Workers at these melon plantations want dignity and rights on the job,” said Tomas Membreño, STAS President, “Over one thousand workers are standing strong and fighting for a voice. We’re calling on STAS  Fyffes to heed their call and come back to the negotiating table and sign a labor rights agreement that enables workers to form the union they need to ensure safe working conditions and fair pay.”

Kelyn Estrada, a 26 year old single mother of two who has worked in the melons for the last six seasons said, “This year we’ve had to work even longer days and cover almost double the harvest area than before. We are bent over in the oppressive heat all day long and we still make so little that it’s hard to feed our families. We are fighting today to tell the company loud and clear: sign the agreement to respect our rights as workers and as human beings.”

Workers report they cannot access the government “social security program,” which provides public healthcare. Marcio Noe Garcia, a long-time worker at Fyffes who for four years would wear a chemical sprayer on his back and spray the melon plants, recently collapsed upon arrival at the job and had to be rushed to the hospital. While still unsure what caused this, without “social security” he has not been able to access adequate healthcare and has incurred burdensome costs for medical treatments.

“We need an independent union so we can work with dignity and safety and support our families,” said Santos Felipa Salinas. “I have worked in the melon plantations of Fyffes since I was fourteen years old. For 26 years I’ve given my labor to this company but this year I was locked out of work and had no way to support my family. I was so desperate I decided to try to cross the border and go to the United States but I didn’t make it, so now I’m here to fight to move my family forward.”

Today as they marched on the fields, farmworkers said they want to form their own union with STAS so that together they can win good jobs that will enable them to work safely and support themselves and their families.

“Fyffes needs to listen to the women and men who plant, pick and pack their melons year after year and who today have demonstrated incredible courage with over 1,000 workers standing together to call for change,” said Jennifer (JJ) Rosenbaum. “Fyffes has the opportunity to make good on its claims to focus on “sustainability” and “shared values” with growers and customers and sign the agreement with STAS to guarantee workers international labor rights and be celebrated for moving forward as a leading multinational agricultural company that respects workers’ rights in the Global South.”

IUF General Secretary Sue Longley stated, “The right to organize is the enabling right that ensures unions can win safe workplaces and that workers have a voice on the job. The IUF calls on Fyffes to respect international labour standards, especially those on freedom of association, collective bargaining and occupational health and safety.”


Global Labor Justice International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ – ILRF) is a non-governmental organization that works transnationally to advance policies and laws that protect decent work; to strengthen freedom of association and workers’ ability to advocate for their rights; and to hold corporations accountable for labor rights violations in their supply chains.

From the fields to factories to hotels, restaurants and fast food chains, the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) organizes, fights and wins for workers across the food chain. With 407 affiliates in 126 countries, the IUF is over 10 million strong and growing.

El Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Agroindustria y Similares (STAS): is an independent agricultural industry union in Honduras that fights for and defends the rights of workers in this sector. Unlike many unions in Honduras, STAS organizes workers industry-wide at the national level with collective bargaining agreements on banana, palm, and sugar plantations. STAS is an affiliate of the IUF.


For Immediate Release

March 28, 2023

Contact: Rachel Cohen,

Union Win at Marriott Hotel Ciela Zambia as IUF and GLJ-ILRF Campaign for Labor Rights Accountability in Development Finance Loans Continues

Workers at the Marriott Ciela Hotel in Lusaka, Zambia voted overwhelmingly today for their union delegates with the Zambian union, Hotel, Catering, Tourism and Allied Workers of Zambia(HCTAWUZ), affiliated to the Zambian Confederation of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF).

The IFC loan recipient and hotel owner benefitted from millions of USD in development finance loans for the construction of this hotel and three other Marriott-branded hotels where workers have raised violations of labor rights including the freedom of association.

After years of campaigning and under pressure from the IUF and GLJ-ILRF, the IFC and the employer eventually ended union-busting and harassment and facilitated an environment where workers could vote for union delegates free from intimidation.

While today’s election represents a positive outcome for workers, IUF and GLJ-ILRF continue to advocate for a model where the IFC facilitates early engagement between their clients and unions around respect for the IFC’s labor safeguards. We are also hopeful that today’s election represents an important step forward for respect for freedom of association as well as free and fair union elections at other IFC-funded Marriott hotels.

For more on the history of labor struggle at the Marriott Hotel Ciela, the IUF and GLJ-ILRF’s campaign for labor rights accountability in IFC-funded hotel projects, and the need for aCompliance Accountability Policy (CAP) for development loans in the hotel sector, see our recently released report here.


Global Labor Justice International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ – ILRF) is a non-governmental organization that works transnationally to advance policies and laws that protect decent work; to strengthen freedom of association and workers’ ability to advocate for their rights; and to hold corporations accountable for labor rights violations in their supply chains. 



For Immediate Release

March 22, 2023

Contact: Rachel Cohen,

NEW REPORT: Supplying SLAPPs: Corporate Accountability for Retaliatory Lawsuits in Thailand’s Poultry Supply Chain

WASHINGTON – A new report “Supplying SLAPPs: Corporate Accountability for Retaliatory Lawsuits in Thailand’s Poultry Supply Chain” highlights the continued use of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP suits) by Thammakaset Co., Ltd. to harass migrant workers, lawyers, journalists, and other human rights defenders, and presents evidence to suggest a possible relationship between the companies Betagro and Thaifoods Group and key individuals linked to Thammakaset through the new corporate entity, Srabua Company Limited.

The report examines government databases and company documents available in the public domain, including company profiles, shareholder information, and financial reports to identify and map links in the poultry supply chain. Information from desk research was supplemented by field visits. The research team conducted field visits to the locations of the former Thammakaset farms to verify the continued operation of the farms. During these visits, the team also documented ongoing business relationships between companies identified in the supply chain of the farms. The research team additionally used satellite imagery to confirm the farms’ locations.

The report was a collaborative effort of Thai and international human rights lawyers, researchers, advocates and students. It was written by a human rights lawyer in collaboration with Global Labor Justice – International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ-ILRF) and the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR). Research support was provided by students in the Corporate Social Responsibility Program at the Leitner Center for International Law and Justice.

You can read the full report here.


Global Labor Justice International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ – ILRF) is a non-governmental organization that works transnationally to advance policies and laws that protect decent work; to strengthen freedom of association and workers’ ability to advocate for their rights; and to hold corporations accountable for labor rights violations in their supply chains.

The International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) is a civil society organization that believes in the need for an economy that respects the rights of all people, not just powerful corporations. We harness the collective power of progressive organizations to push governments to create and enforce rules over corporations that promote human rights and reduce inequality. For more information, visit us:


For Immediate Release

March 12, 2023

Contact: Rachel Cohen,

Migrant Fishers Bring Call for Labor Rights to Boston Seafood Expo

Boston – Boston fishing and labor advocates, teachers and community members today joined Taiwan’s migrant fishers at the Seafood Expo North America to call on big seafood brands to take responsibility for their supply chains and ensure fishers’ fundamental labor rights at sea. 

Fishers spoke out about the Wi-Fi Now for Fishers’ Rights at Sea campaign and why having Wi-Fi communication is vital to protecting their rights. 

Conditions are very tough on the high seas. We need Wi-Fi to communicate with our labor organizations and families. This is how we will protect our rights and our mental health and ensure we are getting fair pay and treatment. We are asking seafood companies, governments and vessel owners to ensure we have rights on the job and a way to talk to the outside world when we’re at sea,” said Edi Kasdiwan of the Indonesian Seafarers Gathering Forum (FOSPI), who traveled to Boston to attend the Expo. 

Faith, labor and community leaders from the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, the Boston Teachers Union, Boston Seafarers Mission, UFCW Local 1445, MassCOSH, Catholic Labor Guild, North Shore Labor Council  and other groups joined migrant fishers who work on Taiwanese deep-sea fishing vessels and other US and Taiwanese allies at the Expo. They called out the big seafood companies that make claims of a fair and safe supply chain but take little responsibility when it comes to ensuring that fishers in their supply chains work under international labor standards.

At sea for up to a year, workers are isolated and unable to communicate with their family, labor organizations, service providers, or state officials. The fishers have launched a global solidarity campaign to call for Wi-Fi on every vessel in the Taiwanese distant water fleet as a critical necessity to ensure workers’ rights under international labor standards. They are fighting for the right to organize and to end forced labor, violence and health and safety violations on their ships.

Taiwan has the world’s second largest distant water fleet, with more than 22,000 crew, the majority being migrant workers. Without access to Wi-Fi onboard fishing vessels, workers are isolated and unable to communicate with their labor organizations, service providers, state officials or their families.

Many workers have reported harrowing conditions aboard these vessels, including insufficient drinking water and food, sanitation problems, lack of onboard safety measures, high recruitment fees that put workers in debt, arbitrary wage deductions, unilateral contract termination and deportation without due process, as well as egregious abuses such as forced labor, physical abuse, murders, and disappearances at sea.

In a recent incident reported by the Yilan Migrant Fishers Union, fishers on a vessel called the Shunjie– operating in the Tonga Islands without Wi-Fi equipment–  were forced to work 20 hours a day and wrap wounds from their work with wire tapes because there were no bandages. The fishers said the captain scolded them when they were ill and asked for medicine. After months under these conditions, the fishers were only able to reach out for help when they docked and fellow fishers shared their Wi-Fi connection.

The fishers have come together to call on the U.S., Japanese and Taiwanese governments, vessel owners, seafood brands and investors to recognize their right to the ILO’s fundamental rights. Workers are looking for dialogue with companies to find solutions.

“We are in Boston to hold the world’s biggest seafood companies responsible for their supply chains. Fishers are workers who deserve rights on the job. Taiwan’s migrant fishers have launched a global campaign for that right and it’s time for these brands and retailers to come to the table with fishers and ensure that vessel owners respect their rights. These global buyers have the power to improve conditions and ensure communications access for workers in distant-water fleets,” said Kimberly Rogovin, Senior Seafood Campaign Coordinator, GLJ-ILRF.

The fishers have organized their international campaign with U.S., Taiwanese and Indonesian allies, including Indonesian Seafarers Gathering Forum, or Forum Silaturahmi Pelaut Indonesia (FOSPI), Global Labor Justice – International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ-ILRF), Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR), Stella Maris Kaohsiung, Humanity Research Consultancy (HRC).

Click here for more info about the Wi-Fi Now for Fishers’ Rights at Sea campaign.



Global Labor JusticeInternational Labor Rights Forum (GLJ – ILRF) is a non-governmental organization that works transnationally to advance policies and laws that protect decent work; to strengthen freedom of association and workers’ ability to advocate for their rights; and to hold corporations accountable for labor rights violations in their supply chains. 

For Immediate Release

March 8, 2023

Contact: Rachel Cohen,

Global Tuna Giant Takes Positive Step to Resolve GLJ-ILRF Allegations of Overstated Labor Rights Claims

WASHINGTON– Global Labor Justice-International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ-ILRF) today welcomed a settlement with Bumble Bee Foods, under which the tuna giant agreed to remove specific claims about its fishing practices and working conditions, including “fair and safe supply chain” and “fair and responsible working conditions,” from its website, social media presence, and other public advertising to reach a mutual settlement of the lawsuit.

The resolution of the lawsuit coincides with the recent launch of the Wi-Fi Now for Fishers’ Rights at Sea campaign to ensure fair and responsible working conditions for Taiwan’s migrant distant-water fishers. The fishers have launched a campaign for fundamental workers’ rights– including freedom of association and health and safety at work– and for Wi-Fi access on their vessels so they can protect those rights.

Migrant fishers, GLJ-ILRF and other Taiwanese and U.S. allies will bring the call for these rights to big seafood producers and brands at the North America Seafood Expo in Boston this weekend.

“This settlement is a step in the right direction, and we are hoping for productive dialogue with Bumble Bee and other industry actors and governments about ensuring accessible and encrypted Wi-Fi for fishers in Taiwan’s fleet. Wi-Fi on every vessel would enable workers to protect their fundamental labor rights on board and prevent labor exploitation. This is an opportunity for industry, governments, fishers, and their unions to work together towards a shared solution,” said Sahiba Gill, Senior Staff Attorney at GLJ-ILRF.

In March 2022, GLJ-ILRF filed suit in a Washington D.C. court against Bumble Bee Foods, LLC– North America’s largest canned tuna brand and subsidiary of Fong Chun Formosa Fishery Company, Ltd. (FCF), a Taiwan-based seafood trader ranked as one of the top three in the world – over its marketing claims that it sources its tuna through a “fair and safe supply chain.” The lawsuit highlighted a history of labor problems in the deep sea fishing sector and demanded Bumble Bee show its advertising was backed up by meaningful practices to protect workers and the environment.  Through the settlement, Bumble Bee agreed to remove the disputed statements for ten years.

“Now the work continues to ensure fishers in Bumble Bee’s supply chain and across the sector fish in decent conditions. Wi-Fi access for all fishers in the Taiwan fleet is a first step in that direction,” said Kimberly Rogovin, GLJ-ILRF Senior Seafood Campaign Coordinator.

GLJ-ILRF brought suit under the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act, which allows public interest non-profit organizations to bring consumer protection claims on behalf of consumers and the general public. GLJ-ILRF was represented in this case by Richman Law & Policy.

Updates on the Wi-Fi Now for Fishers’ Rights at Sea here

Read GLJ-ILRF’s report Wi-Fi for Fishers at Sea



Global Labor JusticeInternational Labor Rights Forum (GLJ – ILRF) is a non-governmental organization that works transnationally to advance policies and laws that protect decent work; to strengthen freedom of association and workers’ ability to advocate for their rights; and to hold corporations accountable for labor rights violations in their supply chains.

For Immediate Release

February 27, 2023

Contact: Rachel Cohen, GLJ-ILRF:


REPORT: Big Fashion Founding Families, Investors Cash In On Wage Theft 

Asian Unions and Allies Launch Campaign to Stop Nike, Levi’s and VF Corp. From Funneling Stolen Pandemic Wages toward Buybacks that Enriched Owners, Wall Street

Register for the press call on Tuesday, February 28 at 9:00 AM ET / 7:30 PM IST / 9:00 PM ICT:


WASHINGTON – Labor Unions in six countries in South and Southeast Asia are joining forces to demand an end to stock buybacks by US-based Big Fashion companies after years of unpaid wage claims. These unions and their global allies, Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) and Global Labor Justice-International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ-ILRF), are launching their “Fight the Heist” campaign with a new report that reveals how Nike, VF Corp. and Levi’s and their wealthiest investors are profiting through wage theft from workers in their Asian supply chains.  

The report “Big Fashion Investors Cash In on Wage Theft,” released today, shows that after quickly bouncing back from a brief pandemic slowdown in 2020, Nike, VF Corp. and Levi’s executives and investors have seen their profits skyrocket through stock buybacks and dividends. Meanwhile, the vast majority of garment workers, who lost on average 22% of their normal wages in 2020, have received no payback and remain in permanent crisis, with many factories continuing to steal overtime pay or pay subminimum wages. 

 Share buybacks in other sectors, like the airline and semiconductor industry, have recently come under scrutiny. Senators and members of Congress are proposing legislation to rein in Wall Street’s expansive efforts to reward investors. However, there’s been little notice of Big Fashion’s lavish payments to investors as garment workers struggle to survive.

“At the same time that workers lost wages en masse, Big Fashion made record profits and brands paid themselves millions through stock buybacks. The Nike-owning Knight family, for example, paid themselves $74 million in dividends while garment workers literally could not survive,” said GLJ-ILRF Executive Director Jennifer (JJ) Rosenbaum. “The campaign is demanding that brands negotiate a forward-looking solution to transform their supply chains for workers, pay back the money garment workers lost and end stock buybacks until workers are made whole.”

Nike and Levi’s increased their share buyback programs in 2022. Nike authorized a new $18 billion dollar buyback program ($3 billion more than before), Levi’s approved a $750 million share repurchase program ($650 million more than before). VF Corporation paused and reinstated its existing share buyback program in 2021, and projects spending $7 billion on share repurchases in the next four years.

“At the start of the pandemic, I was furloughed for weeks at a time and lost all my savings,” said Netra, who makes Nike apparel at a factory in Indonesia. “My factory never paid my back wages and I’m struggling to send the money my parents and siblings rely on. Nike should ensure factory owners pay us fairly for the work we’ve done.”

The new report follows up on a 2021 AFWA report, “Money Heist,” that surveyed thousands of workers at the beginning of the pandemic in 189 factories that make clothes for some of the world’s largest brands. The report documented at least $164 million in lost wages as garment producers skirted national laws on worker pay. 

In late 2022, investigators returned to dozens of factories from the first report and found:

  • Nine in ten factories have not resolved workers’ COVID wage claims from 2020.
  • More than half of factories are not paying workers owed overtime, beginning in 2020 onward. 
  • One in five factories are not paying workers minimum wages or owed benefits.  

Taking data collected as representative of a likely overall trend, the total potential COVID wage claims for Nike, Levi’s and North Face parent company VF Corporation in just the six surveyed countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) could be as much as $427 million.

“The pandemic was a global shock that has had a severe impact on the health and finances of garment workers,” said AFWA International Coordinator Anannya Bhattacharjee. “The industry looks for every possible opportunity to push its risk and losses onto workers with the fewest options and least bargaining power. But workers are fighting back and linking arms with workers in the US to demand that these companies pay them what they are owed before they make lavish payouts to investors.”

Asian garment unions, AFWA, GLJ-ILRF and other allies are calling on these Big Fashion companies to: 

  • Sit down with garment workers and their unions for a systematic investigation of COVID wage claims, including specific impacts on women workers. 
  • Stop billionaire payouts from dividends and stock buybacks until all garment workers are repaid their lost wages.
  • Transform their global supply chains to provide living wages for all workers.

Unions representing workers at Nike factories today filed an OECD complaint with the US National Contact Point. It alleges that Nike has contributed to “severe human rights impacts” for garment workers in its supply chain but has not addressed and remediated the impacts according to the OECD Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct. Nike has not responded to unions’ requests for dialogue about these impacts, which the Guidelines call for. 

If the US NCP approves the complaint, the NCP will formally invite Nike to dialogue with the unions about their demands and facilitate a dialogue process.

You can read the full “Big Fashion Investors Cash In on Wage Theft” report here

You can read more about the OECD complaint here.


Get more info on the campaign on our press call on Tuesday, February 28 at 9:00 AM ET / 7:30 PM IST / 9:00 PM ICT

Zoom registration link:



Asia Floor Wage Alliance (AFWA) is an Asian labour-led global labour and social alliance across garment producing countries (such as India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Bangladesh) and consumer regions (USA and Europe) for addressing poverty level wages, gender-based violence, and freedom of association in global garment production networks. 

Global Labor JusticeInternational Labor Rights Forum (GLJ – ILRF) is a non-governmental organization that works transnationally to advance policies and laws that protect decent work; to strengthen freedom of association and workers’ ability to advocate for their rights; and to hold corporations accountable for labor rights violations in their supply chains. 


For Immediate Release

July 28, 2022


GLJ-ILRF: Rachel Cohen,, 917-370-8464

Equidem: Amanda Sperber: // +1 914 484 8854

REPORT: Qatar Hotels Hosting Teams & Fans at World Cup Exploited and Abused Migrant Workers

‘We Work Like Robots’ details workers’ stories of wage theft, discrimination, dangerous conditions and gender-based violence and harassment at 32 FIFA partner hotels employing an estimated 10,000 workers.

Register for the Press Conference on 28 July at 2PM BST 

For nine months, we were made to work for more than 12 hours a day, without a day off. In order to keep our hours hidden, we were prevented from clocking in and clocking out. I was on the verge of going insane,”  said an Indian worker at the Holiday Villa Hotel and Residence, Doha, a FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 partner hotel.

LONDON – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 (“Qatar World Cup”) hotel managers exploited and violated the rights of thousands of migrant workers from Africa and Asia, according to a new investigation released today by Equidem and Global Labor Justice-International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ-ILRF). 

The groups detail significant labour and human rights violations they found at most of the hotels that employ an estimated 9,000-10,000 workers who will host World Cup teams, spectators and corporate sponsors later this year.

Field  investigators – themselves migrant workers – interviewed 80 workers over two years. Women and men from Africa and Asia working at World Cup hotels describe—in their own words—the sexual harassment, nationality- and gender-based discrimination, wage theft, health and safety risks, sudden loss of employment, and illegal recruitment charges they faced in their work.  Qatar’s laws and policies fuel these rights violations: Workers are denied the fundamental right to associate, subjected to intensive surveillance and employer control, and fear retaliation—including employer-instigated deportation—for defending their rights and interests.

The report details widespread systematic abuse and exploitation, including:

  • Wage theft, including unilateral cuts in pay of up to 75% and unpaid, forced overtime.
  • Nationality-based wage discrimination at all 32 of the hotels designated as FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 hospitality partners.
  • Widespread reports of coworkers and guests subjecting women workers to gender based violence and harassment, including inappropriate touching and sexual propositions.
  • Stolen COVID premium pay: workers said they were promised double wages to work with COVID-19 positive people, but those wages were stolen, and workers were never paid for assuming serious health risks.

“Four months before the 2022 FIFA World Cup is played in Qatar, migrant workers in the World Cup partner hotels report a pattern of gender based violence and harassment, discrimination, wage theft, and fear of retaliation if they come forward.” said Jennifer (JJ) Rosenbaum, GLJ-ILRF Executive Director. “These reports expose the failed model of corporate social responsibility models (“CSR”)- where corporations have sole responsibility to monitor and enforce their own interpretations of labour standards.  We invite an immediate dialogue with FIFA and its partner hotels about the steps necessary to raise and maintain workplace conditions at or above international labor standards and the fundamental role of labour and human rights organizations in this process. Without this, hotel workers will continue to face daily violations of international labor standards and the players and fans who stay at these hotels will be complicit in an extractive business model that puts profit over people.”

The report is based on research conducted from February 2020 to July 2022 and documents significant labour and human rights violations in 13 out of 17 of FIFA’s partner hotel groups. These international brands employ thousands of migrant workers from countries including Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Morocco, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, and Uganda.

Migrant workers are at significant risk of discrimination and exploitation because of the extreme power imbalances between migrant workers and employers in Qatar. The nationality-based hierarchies in Qatar are entrenched by policies that deny migrant workers paths to long-term residency or permanent citizenship. In this context, migrant workers require forums for collective action to safeguard their rights and promote their interests.

“Despite an upsurge in rights-protection initiatives by FIFA and Qatar over the last two years, workers across most World Cup hotels have reported a troubling pattern of abuse and fears of reprisal for speaking out. Our research indicates that thousands of migrant workers at World Cup hotels are owed compensation for illegal recruitment charges, unpaid wages and overtime, and other harms suffered in Qatar,” said Mustafa Qadri, CEO of Equidem. “With less than four months until kick-off, the Qatar World Cup is facing an exploitation crisis that neither FIFA, Qatar, nor their hotel partners can hide behind audits and expert partnerships.”

Equidem and GLJ-ILRF call on FIFA, Qatar authorities and their World Cup partners to ensure hotel workers who have faced discrimination, exploitation and other harms are provided a remedy consistent with international recognized responsible business and human rights practices.

Equidem and GLJ-ILRF further call for the establishment of a genuinely independent Migrant Worker Centre in Qatar as a necessary step towards advancing freedom of association and creating a modern, rights-respecting labour system in the country.

“A top-down, heavily state-controlled labour reform process is inhibiting efforts to improve respect for migrant worker rights at Qatar World Cup hotels, despite the critical help of international trade union bodies, UN agencies and other experts,” Qadri said. “Qatar must respect its international obligations to respect freedom of association rights so that migrant workers have the space to safely voice concerns about their treatment.”

Over 800 workers were contacted in an attempt to understand their experience but only 80 replied, which suggests the exploitation and abuse is widely underreported.

Read the full report here

Equidem and GLJ-ILRF will host a press conference today at 2pm BST/ 9am ET to offer more detail and answer questions about the report. Register here.

Equidem: Amanda Sperber: // +1 914 484 8854
GLJ-IRLF: Rachel Cohen, // +1 917-370-8464


Equidem is a human rights and labour rights charity working globally and locally to promote the rights of marginalised communities, accountability for serious violations, and building the human rights movement. Our team of experts and field investigators expose injustice, provide solutions for the most intractable human rights challenges and work closely with grassroots and global civil society to empower the individual and the community.

Global Labor JusticeInternational Labor Rights Forum (GLJ-ILRF) is a new merged organization bringing strategic capacity to cross-sectoral work on global value chains and labour migration corridors. GLJ-ILRF holds global corporations accountable for labour rights violations in their supply chains; advances policies and laws that protect decent work and just migration; and strengthens freedom of association, new forms of bargaining, and worker organizations.