Global Labor Program - New Frontiers in Advancing Labor Rights (GLP-NFALR)

Work is central to most people’s daily lives. As such, labor issues and the ways in which workers express their rights are topics that affect many of USAID’s development objectives. USAID’s Global Labor Program - New Frontiers Advancing Labor Rights (GLP-NFALR) was created in order to increase the capacity of worker organizations to promote these basic human rights, increase access to justice for employees, and to advance decent work worldwide. Part of these efforts include the promotion of gender equality and ensuring the rights of vulnerable populations such as migrants and those working in the informal sector.

Global Labor Program - Platform for Organizing by Workers for Empowerment and Recognition (GLP-POWER)

Global Labor Program - Platform for Organizing by Workers for Empowerment and Recognition (GLP-POWER) is a five-year project (2021-2026) implemented across six countries in South and Southeast Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Malaysia). The project aims to empower marginalized, informal and/or precarious workers to increase their bargaining power, strengthen regional and cross-sectoral solidarity, secure fair and decent work, and overcome an increasingly restricted democratic space across the region. GLP-POWER will develop a regional platform for informal workers’ organizations and collectives in Asia to foster interaction and exchange among informal workers in sectors such as gig/platform economy, garment manufacturing, agriculture, fishing, construction, domestic work, and mining. Using the digital platform ‘CONNECT’ in concert with in-person small group meetings and participatory research, informal workers equip themselves with credible information, learn about and test innovative practices of organizing, share their problems, and build their capacities to effectively bargain for decent working conditions.

Global Labor Program – Inclusive Futures (GLP-IF)

Global Labor Program – Inclusive Futures aims to increase the inclusion and confidence of people with disabilities, particularly women, so they are able to collectively bargain and improve labor rights at the Kenyan companies of global drinks brands – Coca-Cola Beverages Africa (CCBA) and Diageo’s East Africa Breweries Limited (EABL). Working with EABL, the program introduces smallholder farmers who grow sorghum (a crop used to brew beer) to organize collectively into hubs. Through the hubs, farmers with and without disabilities gain improved access to agricultural advice, farm inputs, and collective bargaining power to secure higher prices from EABL for their produce. GLP-IF works with CCBA to make their retail distribution chain more inclusive. It provides skills training and support to women retailers with disabilities to grow their businesses and supports them to organize into groups – giving them a platform to discuss common issues and negotiate better margins from CCBA product sales. Over five years, the program aims to benefit 1,350 women retailers and 1,450 farmers with disabilities.

Snapshots of Program Activities

Winning Legal Protections for Vulnerable Workers

Domestic workers in South Africa, a vast majority of whom are women, are vulnerable to precarious and informal work characterized by long hours, low pay, and limited freedoms. To address the structural exclusion from mainstream labor protections, the GLP-NFALR has provided strategic guidance, legal expertise, and support to advocacy campaigns led by grassroots worker-led coalitions that successfully added domestic workers to the national workers compensation legislation. Now, the country’s one million domestic workers can make claims for injury and illness on the job. Ongoing engagement and support from GLP-NFALR also resulted in domestic workers covered under the national minimum wage legislation, a significant improvement over the previous guarantee of just 60 percent of minimum wage.

Tackling Gender-Based Violence and Harassment at Work, at Home, in Communities

Thousands of garment workers in Lesotho who produce jeans for the global market now have the tools and support to stand up to gender-based violence and harassment (GBVH) at their factories, homes and communities through a GLP-NFALR program involving interactive workshops led by union leaders and women’s rights advocates. The program also provided the mostly women workers with the skills to take on leadership roles in their unions, roles traditionally assumed by men. Garment workers also helped craft an independent reporting and monitoring system and an enforceable Code of Conduct including remedies for abusive behavior. The program stems from unprecedented 2019 agreements which Lesotho-based unions and women’s rights groups, major fashion brands and international worker rights organizations, including the Solidarity Center, negotiated with the factory owner to end rampant GBVH at multiple factories in Lesotho. Across the globe, the GLP remains committed to addressing the root causes of violence and ensuring accountability of perpetrators through the design of grievance redressal mechanisms, workplace training on GVBH prevention and media campaigns to raise awareness of GBVH.

Understanding and Improving Conditions for Workers in Agriculture Supply Chains

GLP-funded research to assess the role of worker associations in improving the conditions of banana workers in Guatemala found that unionized workers earn more, work fewer hours, face less sexual harassment, and have safer workplaces. The report, “What Difference Does a Union Make Banana Plantations in the North and South of Guatemala,” sought to better understand the power dynamics within the agricultural supply chain, where workers have few rights or legal protections. In Guatemala, the largest exporter of bananas to the United States, 59 percent of women surveyed in non-union banana packing plants say they face sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence at work compared with 9nine percent of women at unionized packing plants.

Shahara, a garment worker in Bangladesh, stitches buttons on blazers at her workstation in a garments factory in Gazipur, Dhaka. / Josh Estey, USAID
Shahara, a garment worker in Bangladesh, stitches buttons on blazers at her workstation in a garments factory in Gazipur, Dhaka.
Josh Estey, USAID

Sector Overview