With a record number of Americans out of work, the government agency responsible for advancing employment in the United States just doled out $1.5 million to promote collective bargaining and improve labor relations in Vietnam…
How do you justify dedicating taxpayer dollars to labor issues in a country located several time zones away when unemployment is at 9.1% in the U.S.? The DOL says the money will extend an existing program, called Vietnam Industrial Relations Promotion Project, by an additional two years which likely isn’t a priority for most Americans. The first phase of the project was also funded by Uncle Sam, though the cash went through a different government entity, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
It’s a worthy investment, according to the DOL, because it’s designed to improve Vietnam’s labor relations policies and initiatives by strengthening labor law enforcement and labor inspection and increasing the capacity for a more effective dispute resolution system for workers and employers. Here is the kicker; it will also improve “worker organizations’ (can you say unions?) ability to represent employees and engage in collective bargaining and other methods of dispute resolution.”
Solis says “experience shows” that it’s important for the U.S. to forge these sorts of partnerships between countries to “promote sound industrial relations policies and programs worldwide.”