Although the struggle for labor rights has been going on for a very long time, many people aren’t very familiar with what these rights are and what they mean for us. Just to be clear, human rights are rights that belong to all humans, regardless of nationality, sex, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, ideology, etc. Civil rights are the rights that accompany citizens of a particular country. These may be limited by age and criminal standing – for example, voting rights are restricted to citizens over 18 years of age, and some states do not all certain felons to vote. Civil rights vary by nation. Labor rights are rights than belong to workers. Without the protection of labor rights, workers can and do find themselves abused and exploited. Labor rights are not limited to a particular country, and they include many basic human rights. Labor rights also protect children and others from being forced to do labor, so their reach expands into other groups than only those who are currently working in paid labor.
One key component to labor rights advocacy and negotiation has been the role of unions, and their efforts have been a leading cause of improved working conditions in many industries. But these are not the only ways that labor rights are secured or protected. Individual workers and informal groups influence decision-makers; disgruntled workers utilize the media to bring attention to bad employment environments; some use litigation to persuade companies to adapt certain practices.
The following are examples of some of the most accepted labor rights concepts:
2. Becoming or remaining a member of a labor organization
3. Paying strike or unemployment benefits
4. Assisting a person involved in a labor dispute in a court case
5. “Giving publicity to the existence of, or the facts involved in, any labor dispute, whether by advertising, speaking, patrolling, or by any other method not involving fraud or violence”: in other words, peaceful picketing
6. Peaceably assembling
For more information about labor rights, visit the following resources: