Center for Global Workers' Rights

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Just published:

Anner, Pons-Vignon, and Rani (2019), "For a Future of Work with Dignity: A Critique of the World Bank Development Report, The Changing Nature of Work."


Spring 2019 Film Series: Intersections: Landscapes of Labor

The Center for Global Workers' Rights is proud to announce the launch of a new film series, entitled "Intersections: Landscapes of Labor," co-sponsored with the Sustainability Institute here at PSU. The series highlights intersections between worker rights struggles and related issues such as racial, gender, and environmental justice.

This semester's screenings will be as follows:
- January 22, 7pm (Kern 112): Sorry to Bother You (2018, USA)
- February 19, 7pm (Hub 132): Cart (2014, South Korea
- March 19, 7pm (Hub 132): The Second Mother (2015, Brazil)
- April 23 , 7pm (Hub 132): Pride (2014, England)

For more about the series, check out this excellent article in Penn State News.  

Fall/Winter 2018-19 Newsletter


Massive Open Online Course on Fair Wage Strategies in a Global Economy

Billons of workers around the world have no regular income or do not even earn a wage sufficient to live a decent life. Wages for many workers have been stagnant and most economic gains have gone to the top of the income pyramid.

Why do income inequalities continue to increase in so many countries? What role cancollective bargaining and minimum wages play in reducing social and economic inequalities? What constitutes a fair wage?

Join this new Online Course to learn and discuss these and many other questions with experts from universities, the International Labour Organisation and the international trade union movement. You can watch the course trailer and enroll for free on

Recent publications by Center members:


Wildcat Strikes and Better Work Bipartitie Committees in Vietnam: Toward an Elect, Represent, Protect, and Empower Framework book cover

Mark Anner - Wildcat Strikes and Better Work Bipartitie Committees in Vietnam: Toward an Elect, Represent, Protect, and Empower Framework.

Mark Anner, "Monitoring Workers’ Rights: The Limits of Voluntary Social Compliance Initiatives in Labor Repressive Regimes."

Madhumitta Dutta, "Place of life stories in labour geography: Why does it matter?"


Decent Work in global supply chains

Watch the course trailer here.

Enroll here.

Course flyer.

3rd Cohort starts MPS Program in Labor and Global Workers' Rights 

On August 22, 2016, we welcomed our third group of MPS students in Labor and Global Workers' Rights. This group represents labor and worker rights activists from Liberia, Tanzania, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Brazil, and the United States.

LGWR group photo

Spring 2016 Newsletter.

2016 newsletter thumbnail


Research Brief: The Bulk of the Iceberg: A Critique of the Stern Center’s Report on Worker Safety in Bangladesh 

The Stern Center for Business and Human Rights at New York University released a report in December 2015, “Beyond the Tip of the Iceberg: Bangladesh’s Forgo en Apparel Workers.” It argues that the factory inspection programs developed after the Rana Plaza disaster to address worker safety in Bangladesh exclude the majority of workers and are therefore reaching only the “tip of the iceberg.” We have carefully reviewed the Stern researchers’ methodology and data, and come to the opposite conclusion. Contrary to Stern’s assertions, more than 70% of garment workers in Bangladesh are covered by the Accord and the Alliance, and if we include workers employed in factories inspected by the ILO-advised National Initiative, the percentage of covered workers reaches 89%. We also find that Stern, due to a series of errors in data collection and analysis, greatly overestimated the number of formal factories and the size of the workforce. 

press release

full report

One page fact sheet on Bangladesh's garment sector and the Stern Report here.




Earn an MPS in Labor and Global Workers' Rights

The Center for Global Workers’ Rights, in coordination with the Global Labour University, offers a twelve-month MPS program in Labor and Global Workers’ Rights. The program, designed for mid-career US and international labor practitioners, focuses on strategic corporate research and campaigns, international and comparative employment relations systems, and workers’ rights in the global economy. The deadline is March 1, 2016. More information. 

Post-Doctoral Scholar, Center for Global Workers’ Rights

The School of Labor and Employment Relations at The Pennsylvania State University invites applications for the position of Post-Doctoral Scholar with the Center for Global Workers’ Rights. This is a twelve-month position that begins on August 14, 2016. For more information on the position and how to apply, click here

Center Releases Report on Workers' Rights in El Salvador

The Center for Global Workers' Rights together with the Worker Rights Consortium announce the publication of their report, "Unholy Alliances: How Employers in El Salvador’s Garment Industry Collude with a Corrupt Labor Federation, Company Unions and Violent Gangs to Suppress Workers’ Rights." For full report, click here. For Spanish version, click here.

Center for Global Workers’ Rights Co-Hosts the Global Labour Journal

The Center for Global Workers’ Rights joins the International Center for Development and Decent Work of Kassel University and the Research Committee on Labour Movements of the International Sociology Association in co-hosting the Global Labour Journal. The online journal publishes on a range of topics on labor and workers’ movement in the global economy by top scholars in the field. It is an open access journal and is run by an editorial team from the Global South and North. For more information, please see: . To access the Journal, go to:

Bangladesh survivor of the Rana Plaza collapse speaks at Penn State

Bangladeshi labor organizer Kalpona Akter and Reba Sikder, a garment worker who survived the Rana Plaza collapse, spoke at Penn State on a United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) tour. Rana Plaza, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, came into the international spotlight after a tragic collapse killed over 1000 people in April of 2013. The two women spoke about their struggle to force brands to sign a legally binding agreement to improve apparel factory safety and working conditions in Bangladesh, as well as what students can do to make Penn State sweat-free! Penn State administrators set forth a requirement that, effective March 31, 2014, any company producing Penn State logo goods in Bangladesh must sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety to help ensure safe working conditions. Failure to sign the Accord by March 31 will lead to termination or non-renewal of the license agreement.

Kalpona Akter (left) and Reba Sikder (right)

Reba Sikder speaks about here experience in this video.

Mark Anner, winner of the James G. Scoville Paper Award by Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA)

Mark Anner’s article “Corporate Social Responsibility and Freedom of Association Rights: The Precarious Quest for Legitimacy and Control in Global Supply Chains.” (2012, Politics & Society 40(4): 604 – 639) was awarded the James G. Scoville International/Comparative Best Paper Award at the Labor and Employment Relations Association meeting in June 2013 in St. Louis. For the paper abstract click here, Anner, Corporate Social Responsibility and Freedom of Association Rights.

Workshop on Strikes, Unions, and Workers in China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh

CGWR Workshop group: Guowei- Gaochao- Jakir- Mark - RenweiOn February 7, the CGWR hosted the "Workshop on Strikes, Unions, and Workers in China, Vietnam and Bangladesh." Attendees included (from left to right) Johns Hopkins University student Guowei Liang, Professor Gaochao He of Sun Yat-Sen University (Guangzhou, China), CGWR Post-doctoral Scholar Jakir Hossain, CGWR Director Mark Anner, and CGWR visiting scholar Renwei Lui.


MPS Labor and Global Workers' Rights student, Shirley Pryce, received the Jamaican "Order of Distinction (OD)" 

Shirley Pryce holding awardMPS Labor and Global Workers' Rights 2014-15 student, Shirley Pryce, received the Jamaican "Order of Distinction (OD)," which is one of her country’s highest honors. Shirley is the Founder and President of the Jamaican Household Workers’ Union. She was actively involved in the successful campaign for the International Labour Organization Convention for Domestic Workers, ILO Convention 189. Shirley is a former domestic worker and has been a human rights advocate for over 20 years. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work.