Transnational Labor Justice

As the global economy strengthens, the problems that employees and communities are facing become more global. Consequently, organizations, workers, and communities must start thinking globally as well. Economic tides have brought international companies into Mexico and pushed many Mexicans to migrate to the United States as mobile labor placing issues in a transnational sphere. In response, ProDESC has spent the last five years integrating transnational strategies into all of its campaigns and has encouraged advocates to develop innovative transnational collaborations.

ProDESC and Binational Advocacy Conferences

The first Binational Justice in Labor Conference was held on October 4th to 8th of 2007 in Mexico City. The conference was organized by ProDESC and Centro de los Derechos de Migrante, Inc. The conference bought together more than sixty participants from about forty international human rights organizations, academic institutions, and labor unions. The goal for the conference is to facilitate a dialogue among Mexican and American human rights organizations and defenders that produces an integral strategy and promotes solidarity. Furthermore, this dialogue allows for the human rights community to transcend cultural and organizational differences. Consequently, this allows for mutual understanding within human rights community that strengthens the pursuit for transnational justice in labor.

The conference resulted in a series of proposals for future collaboration: the formation of a work network, the elaboration of joint research documents, exchange of training between Mexican organizations and American organizations, and workshops on labor legislation in the two nations. A result of this effort is the publication of Binational Justice Manual: A Normative Framework for the Defense of Migrant Workers in Mexico.

In fall 2011, ProDESC held a second conference with 40 human rights organizers and attorneys from throughout North America and Mexico focusing on the concrete transnational collaborations. Participants shared their collaborative experiences and experimental strategies used to strengthen a worker’s influence in both nations.

Defense of Transnational Workers

Following the success of this second conference, ProDESC is now working with several U.S.-based worker centers to construct concrete transnational campaigns that empower migrants and instill corporate social responsibility in hiring these workers in both countries. The strategies are based and founded in community organizing in both nations.

For example, in 2011, ProDESC and the U.S.-based National Guestworker Alliance (NGA) started planning a multi-year guestworker organizing strategy that will build a worker-based binational center focused on corporate accountability for labor abuses. The organizing effort will increase accountability for forced labor violations that are systemic in the guestworker context. The two organizations are working with worker advocates and their families in the United States and Mexico to ensure binational support of labor and recruitment violations.