Brazil and USA sign bilateral agreement to promote decent work

The presidents of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and the United States, Joe Biden, launched the Partnership for Workers' Rights on Wednesday (20 September) in New York. The unprecedented initiative between the two countries aims to promote decent work, with better wages, rights, and opportunities and without discrimination against women, ethnic groups and LGBTQIA+ people.

For that matter, the countries will work closely with trade union partners and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) based on the founding document of the Global Coalition for Work and intend to involve other G20 countries and global partners in the initiative to foster inclusive, sustainable, and broadly shared development for all workers to ensure that economic growth leaves no one behind.

Representatives of both governments and the ILO itself stressed the importance of the direct participation of the two countries' trade union centers for the agreement to go ahead. The presidents of Brazil’s six trade union centers and representatives of the AFL-CIO attended the signing of the bilateral agreement and the launch of the partnership with the International Labour Organisation.

Read the U.S.-Brazil Statement on the Partnership for Workers’ Rights       

Our Administrations affirm our mutual commitment to workers’ rights and the promotion of decent work.

Working people built our countries – from our most basic infrastructure and critical services to educating our youth and caring for our elders, to our most advanced technologies. Workers and their trade unions have fought for protections in the workplace, fairness in the economy, and democracy in our societies—they are at the heart of the dynamic economies and the healthy, sustainable world we seek to build for our children.  In the face of complex global challenges, from climate change to rising poverty levels and economic inequality, we must put workers at the center of our policy solutions.  We must stand with workers and empower them to drive the innovation we urgently need to secure our futures.

Today, the United States and Brazil announce the launch of our joint global initiative to elevate the central and critical role that working people play in a sustainable, democratic, equitable, and peaceful world.  We already share an understanding and commitment to tackling critical issues of economic inequality, safeguarding workers’ rights, addressing discrimination in all its forms, and ensuring a just and clean energy transition.  Promoting decent work is foundational to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. We are also concerned with and attentive to the effects of the digitalization of our economies and the professional use of artificial intelligence on the world of work.

With this new initiative, we intend to expand our ambition and strengthen our partnership to address five of the most urgent challenges facing working people around the globe:

  • (1)  protecting workers’ rights as defined in the International Labour Organization’s core conventions, empowering workers, and ending worker exploitation, including forced labor and child labor;

  • (2) promoting safe, healthy, and decent work, and accountability in public and private investment;

  • (3) advancing worker-centered approaches to the clean energy transition;

  • (4) harnessing technology and digital transitions for the benefit of all; and

  • (5) tackling workplace discrimination, particularly for women, LGBTQI+ persons, and marginalized racial and ethnic groups, embracing and promoting diversity in and access to the world of work.  We intend to work collaboratively across our governments and with our union partners to advance these urgent issues over the next year, envisioning a common agenda to discuss with other countries in the G20 and in COP 28, COP 30, and beyond.

We welcome the support and participation of labor leaders from our countries and global organizations, as well as the leadership of the International Labour Organization, and we hope other partners and allies join this effort.  Together, we can create a sustainable economy based on shared prosperity and respect for workers’ dignity and rights.