News Releases

Amendment to TPA expresses a sense of the Senate on ratification of ILO Convention on discrimination

(Washington, D.C.) Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced an amendment to the trade and worker assistance bill urging the U.S. Senate to ratify the International Labor Organization’s Convention on employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, political opinion, and national or social origin. Murray’s amendment expresses a sense of the Senate that trading partners of the United States should pursue policies designed to promote equal opportunity and treatment and to eliminate discrimination in the workplace.

“America should be leading the world with our unwavering support for equality of opportunity among our trading partners, and yet we still have not taken this important step forward,” Senator Murray said. “Supporting this Convention to eliminate workplace discrimination is long overdue to affirm our nation’s commitment to workers, especially women, around the globe who are subjected to discrimination, are often paid less, have limited social mobility, and are subject to exploitation and harassment.”

The International Labor Organization (ILO) adopted anti-discrimination Convention No. 111 in 1958 and it has been ratified by 172 of the 185 ILO member countries. The United States is among the five Trans-Pacific Partnership countries that have not ratified Convention No. 111. The ILO has identified discrimination in employment and at work as one of the most urgent and important challenges of today, as it creates unfair barriers to good jobs, unjustly depriving people of full participation in the economy. These factors both reinforce and generate poverty.

Discrimination especially presents serious barriers for women around the world. As a direct consequence of discrimination, including cultural norms of subordination, global poverty disproportionately affects women. They are more likely than men to be pushed into low-wage or unpaid work and jobs with low security and little chance of upward mobility, subject to sexual harassment and violence at work, and discharge for getting married or having children.