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Bama Athreya and Sandy Levin: Integrating and Enforcing Labor Rights in Trade

February 19, 2020 1:22:30
Kaltura Video

Bama Athreya and Sandy Levin talk free trade and human rights. February, 2020


I'm John Ciorciari.

I'm the director of the Weiser 

Diplomacy Center here at the 

Ford School.

I'm happy to welcome you to 

this Harry A. and Margaret D. 

Towsley Foundation lecture.

We want to thank the Towsley 

Foundation which was established

In 2002 with a policy maker in

Residence program that allows 

The Ford School to bring 

Individuals who have a wealth of

Policy making experience to 

Campus including our own 

Professor Sandy Levin.

And so please join me first in 

Thanking the towsley foundation 

For this wonderful program.


Today we're going to be speaking

With the nexus between labor 

Rights and trade which, of 

Course, is a crucial topic as 

U.S. And global trade agreements

Are being renegotiated.

And it is a conversation between

Two experts who have worked for 

Long periods of time to advance 

Workers' rights in the context 

Of global trade.

Dr. Bama Athreya is a visiting 

Policy expert here at the weiser

Diplomacy center who arrived 

Today and who is going to 

Leading a number of sessions 

During the course of the week 

Including a three-part course 

For students on related to the 

Future of work and also a 

Session of in my class next week

Of values and ethics.

Dr. Athreya has worked more than

Trade and labor rights.

Her former organization, the 

International labor rights 

Forum, pioneered the inclusion 

Of a labor clause in trade 

Programs as an material active 

To protectionism with the goal 

Of using it as a race to the top

Instead of the bottom.

She is an economic and quality 

Fellow at the open society 

Foundations where she is doing 

Research on worker conditions in

The digital economy.

She is also an advisor to the 

Laudes foundation and most 

Importantly got her phd in 

Anthropology from um.

Welcome back to dr. Athreya who 

Is also on the external advisory


Of course, most of you already 

Have the pleasure and privilege 

Of knowing professor levin.

Professor of  practice here at 

The Ford school with support 

From the towsley foundation for 

Over 35 years.

Professor levin represented 

Residents of southeast michigan 

In congress.

He's been actively involved in 

Essentially any major debate you

Can think of confronting our 

Nation over the recent past 

Including welfare reform, the 

Auto industry rescue, china's 

Entry into the world trade o, 

The iran nuclear deal and a host

Of key economic policy issues.

He was chair of the house ways 

And means committee during the 

Passage of the afFordable care 


He successfully fought against 

The privatization of social 


And very relevant to today's 

Topic, he pioneered language to 

Add enforceable labor and 

Environmental standards in trade

Agreements for the first time.

We'll talk more about that in 

Our conversation.

Born in detroit he earned a ba 

From the university of chicago, 

Ma in international relations 

From columbia and a jd from 


Between the two of them they 

Have decades of expertise in the

Area we'll talk about today.

They'll begin by discussing 

Historical challenges to 

Including labor clauses in trade

Agreements and to enforcing 


And they'll also review some of 

The current dynamics.

Labor clauses in recent trade 

Deals and how they've been 

Tormented and forced -- 

Interpreted and forced and 

Thinking about some of the keys 

To effective enforcement of 

These provisions going forward.

One last note on format.

We'll have a few of our students

Who are going to be walking 

Around the room later with cue 

Cards if you want to write down 


And then we will also have a few

Designated questioners who will 

Introduce themselves and then 

Ask us selected questions in our

Q&a session.

With that, I'd like get started.

The first thing that perhaps I 

Could start with you, 

Dr. Athreya, is to set the scene

By sharing with us how you got 

Involved and importantly how you

First began to intersect with 

Professor 11 rn as you were 

Working in the civil society 

Space and he was working in 

Official channels on a similar 

Range of issues.

bama Athreya: thank you so 


It is a pleasure to be here.

Thanks for the invitation to 

Participate in this event today.

I will say that professor levin 

And I are a little bit of an odd

Couple up here in front of you 

And maybe it would help to 

Explain that.

I really started out working on 

These issues of trade justice in

The streets and was in the 

Streets of seattle in 1999 and 

That was in november of 1999 

When tens of thousands of 

Activists converged on the city 

From around the world to protest

The world trade organization 


And, you know, I start with that

History because, of course, you 

Know, professor levin was the 

Insider really trying to see 

What could be done with the 

Rules.  We were on the outside 

Pointing out all of the flaws 

With the rules as constructed.

You know, this brings me to just

A few big picture points I want 

To kind of put out there and 

Will probably keep coming back 

To over and over again just to 

Remind us of why we're even in 

This discussion.

And the one is, you know, there 

Are days when it feels like 

We're in a very sort of 

Depressing and hopeless time.

And we look around the world and

We see what looks like 

Incredible concentration of 


Particularly corporate capture 

Of governments.

And so one of the things that I 

Would say I reflect on as I 

Think back about, you know, sort

Of where I and my trade justice 

Colleagues and friends were 20 

Years ago and where we are today

Is that what was clear to us 

Then and, you know, was one of 

The reasons why we pushed for 

These changes to the trade rules

Is still clear to me today.

And that is this concentrated 

Power that corporations have 

With respect to governments and 

Rules really cannot be broken 

Without the counter weight of 

Organized labor movements.

And so we have as much need 

Today as we did then for that 

Space for labor movements to 

Organize and be that voice and 

That weight to really, you know,

Sort of think differently about 

The roles.

The second big point I want to 

Make and I'll keep returning to 

Is that trade rules are not 


There's no free trade.

There never was free trade.

I'm sure professor levin will 

Have his own comments on this 


What there is is heavily 

Negotiated trade with hundreds 

Of thousands of pages of rules.

So what is important to keep in 

Mind -- you know I think -- I've

Always been allergic to sort of 

This framing of free trade 

Versus, you know, some people 

Wanted to label us 

Anti-globalization and that was 

Never what it was.

It was about fair rules.

Rules that actually protected 

People and not just profit.

So I want to disafuse this 

Entire conversation of the 

Notion there is free trade.

What we are talking about is 

Whether we like the rules as 

They are constructed or whether 

We think a different set of 

Rules might give us better 

Balance in terms of the overall 

Benefits they convey.

So, you asked me to talk a bit 

About sort of my own trajectory 

In this world and so I'll now 

Pivot to that from those major 


When we were advocating around 

These issues, again beginning 

For my organization back in the 

End or curtail trade between 


We were seeking to say, if trade

Is being used, and particularly 

With respect to developing 

Countries, if it's being used as

A development tool it's being 

Used as a tool to rift up 

Economies -- lift up economies, 

There is no need to make a 

Virtue of cheap labor.

So, back to my first point which

Was about creating that space 

For workers to have some agency 

To negotiate for fair terms and 

Conditions of work.

We said can these rules be 

Written in such a way as to 

Provide that, you know, not to 

Do it for them.

And this is a third point that I

Think I'll probably end up, you 

Know, coming back to over and 


Not as a magic bullet, not as a 


The rules are not the end.

The rules are the means.

Can we use the rules so that 

Workers as they begin to 

Organize have something to use 

As leverage to support their 

Efforts to make those demands.

So that was the nature of what 

We were looking for in terms of 

The conditionality.

What we did over the years is we

Were really very practical about

Looking at what we were able to 


And, if we look at -- you know 

I'm sure, again, I'll sort of 

Wait for professor levin to do 

Some explanation of some of the 

Instruments that we're talking 

About, but whether it was trade 

Preference programs, 

Multi-lateral agreements, 

Bilateral agreements, we always 

Got what I would consider half a


But I am going to be the person 

Who is here to tell you that 

That is still better than not 

Having gotten anything at all, 


And so it was incumbent upon us,

And my organization, you know, 

Really took this as one of its 

Principal roles and reasons, you

Know, for part of our mission 

Was whatever rules there were, 

To use them to bring cases on 

Behalf of worker organizations 

Around the world.

Because we couldn't even, you 

Know, really benefit from the 

Incremental gains in language in

These agreements without the 

Case work behind it bringing up 

The cases year after year after 


I think later in the talk we'll 

Talk about some of the specific 

Cases add what we were able to 


But I am the half a loaf.

And I think one of the things 

Just kind of quickly pivoting to

The current moment that dismays 

Me is I think a lot of that work

That was done in the 1980s and 

The 1990s and into the 2000s is 

Still there.

There's actually a body of work 

That took us three decades to 

Build up.

But I think current-day human 

Rights and labor advocates have 

Forgotten those instruments are 


And at a time when we could be 

Doing more case work than ever 

I'm seeing less of it and I'm 

Seeing advocates really not 

Understand how to use the 

Important leverage we have built

Up to work in solidarity with 

Those workers organizations 

Around the world.

So I think I'll stop on that for


that's great thank you.

I want to turn to professor 


A very big and important slice 

In that half of a loaf that we 

Do have is the language that you

Introduced with colleagues in 

Environmental provisions in 

Trade agreements.

I wonder if you could take us 

Back to 1999 when you were a few

Blocks away from her in the 

Battle of seattle and talk about

The progress over those eight 


How did we get from seattle 1999

And the conversations around 

Nafta to lodging labor and 

Environmental provisions in 

Trade agreements as a normal 

Matter of practice?

sander levin: okay, I wasn't 

Sure how to proceed but maybe 

Seattle is a useful turning 


We may end up talking about more

Recent events.

And the dean is here and we're 

Honored you are here.

I am honored to be here.

sander levin: and I think it 

Is a secret because I have a 

Copy of what the dean wrote -- 

I'm dating you a bit -- almost 


And I think everybody should 

Read it, including those who put

Together a successor.

Maybe we'll come back to that.

Let me just talk briefly about 

Seattle and try to frame it in 

Terms of how trade policy has 


I'm going to try to be brief.

It's very difficult for me to be

Brief about trade issues.

And I'm always -- I was always 

Teased by staff because it's 

Such an invigorating and 

Important subject.

Before seattle labor in 

Environmental rights really had 

A second place.

And the reason for that was 

Basic trade ideology.

The ideology goes back to 

Recardo, even to adam smith.

The notion was more trade is 


And that worked more or less 

When trade was between like 



It was challenged 100 years ago 

When there was an effort in the 

'20s, the 1920s to essentially 

Involve labor issues not so much

Environment into the trade 


But that was washed away partly 

By smoot holly which washed away

All discussion of trade because 

It was so incorrect in 


And tariffs became a 

Historically, not anomaly, but 


So, there was a notion going 

Back to the 19th century, more 

Trade is basically better.

And it bumped into japan.

But there it was between two 

Economies basically that were 

Very much alike, right.

There were labor rights in 


There was a market economy.

Though it was a rigged one.

And what happened was that japan

Took advantage of our open 

Markets while they had a very 

Closed market.

I was going to bring with me 

What I have in the office, a 

Universal joint that I bought 

For $11.40 in detroit in royal 

Oak, joe's auto park main 

Street, of all places, and it 

Cost $105 in japan.

The very -- and we could not 

Export to japan our products.

So that's when it began to break

Down the kind of monolithic 

Notion more trade is better.

But there was a dialogue here to

Attribute to this university.

And I just want to quote.

It was in 1987.

And this is what clayton yoyter 

Who was then the ustr said.

Over the past 40 years all 

Administrations and leaders of 

Both parties in congress have 

Shared the conviction that 

Expanding trade opportunities 

Will bring higher living 

Standards for all.

The key two words I think are 

"For all."

It wasn't much longer when -- 

And this is forgotten -- pat 

Buchanan challenged president 

Bush in the primary in 1992 over


But that also was kind of washed

Out and bush survived it.

And then, of course, next came 


So I want to say just a word 

About seattle and then go on.

It's an interesting history 

Because we began in the late 80s

As a result of japan to really 

Say to president clinton, you 

Need to look at the conditions 

Of trade and its impact.

And so after nafta he began to 

Shift gears.

And he began to talk about the 

Need to level up not level down.

Bill clinton had a way with 


Level up not level down.


So we pressured the clinton 

Administration to go to seattle 

And set up a working group on 

Labor in the wto.


He got carried away.

And while there was all this 

Disturbance outside of the 

Halls, he proposed not a working

Group but enforceable labor 

Provisions in the wto.

And we said to him, that isn't 

What we were proposing.

It was steps too far.

And while there was all of the 

Turbulence outside the hall, 

Inside the hall there was 

Immense turbulence reacting to 

What the president said.

Well seattle blew up.

And we haven't had 

Demonstrations about trade since

Then like that.

So, just a few words what 

Happened after that.

Cafta happened afterwards.

Enforce your own laws was the 


We came within two votes of 

Defeating cafta.

Then, of course, what came 

Afterwards you refer to as may 

And for the first time there was

Placed in trade agreements 

Enforceable labor and 

Environmental standards.

And to show how bifurcated it 

Was, the bush administration, 

Which was still in place, we 

Were in the majority for the 

First time in seven and eight, 

They reduced to negotiate an 

Agreement with may 10th in it.

So, essentially, two of us in 

The congress negotiated a free 

Trade agreement.

It's not a good idea.

It's not supposed to be our 


And we did so with peru.

And I will just say a word about


Because in addition to labor 

Standards we included 

Enforceable environmental 


And we laid out requirements of 

Peru as to the amazon.

And what happened in later 

Administrations including the 

Obama administration, they 

Failed to enforce it.

They failed to enforce it.

So the most recent battle has 

Been over u.S.-mca.

I think that's where I'll stop 

So that we can have some 

Discussion about it.

In the course that I co-taught, 

We didn't talk about usmca.

I have some deep feelings about 

What happened in a way to pick 

Up the threads of that forgotten

Dean's article in the law review

Which I still have, dean.

So, is that enough to start 


And let's have a lot of vigorous


Because my own judgment is, is 

To usmca, that it is just the 

Opening, the opening kind of 

Argument about what happens when

You put together a developed 

Country with a developing nation

On its borders.

On its borders.

There are more automotive 

Workers today in mexico than in 

The united states.

A foreign auto company, bmw, 

Opened up a plant not so long 

Ago, signed a phony agreement, 

And the pay there is a 

Dollar-and-a-half an hour.


moderator: thank you for 


And I wanted to come back to 

This issue of the enforceable 


Dr. Athreya, as you mentioned 

These are tools for people to be

Able to implement in the defense

Of labor rights and don't 

Necessarily ensure labor rights 

Unless they are in fact 


And I'd be grateful for your 

Comments on how in fact some of 

The provisions that 

Representative levin was so 

Influential in lodging in trade 

Agreements, how have those been 


What are your comments on recent

Developments and, in particular,

With the trump administration 

But even in the lateral obama 

Years in enforcing them in key 

Cases like bangladesh or africa.

bama Athreya: I think this is

A great kvgs because 

Enforceability, what is 

Enforceability I think is really

Sort of a critical question.

I know one that you grappled 

With as a congressman for many 


And we did as well again because

We were were bringing cases.

And I don't think there's a 

Fixed answer to at what point, 

You know, you consider something

Is fully enforceable.

We would have said that even the

Earliest labor clauses, the ones

That I mentioned in the 1980s, 

Which were in unilateral 

Programs, trade preference 

Programs, were enforceable but 

Were not enforced.

And so if we look at the 

Trajectory from those early -- 

You know the first labor 

Condition at was in a program 

Called -- well it was in the 

Caribbean based initiative in 

That was a single phrase.

The first full clause was in the

Generalized system of 

Preferences program which is a 

Unilateral trade preference 


It is a benefit we give by 

Reducing or eliminating tariffs 

On products in a unilateral 

Manner with developing countries

And with least developed 


The idea being this is to give 

Them a leg up and ability to 

Sort of enter our markets and 

Improve their economies.

And I think, you know, professor

Levin raises an excellent point 

About what happens when you've 

Got that, you know, friction 

Between a highly developed 

Market and a really, you know, 

Sort of poor developing market 

Such as bangladesh or cambodia 

Countries that I worked in and 

Brought cases on.

So, there was that labor 

Conditionality that was 

Introduced in 1984.

And we tried throughout the 

Subsequent decade to bring 


And there was total discretion 

Because there were no rules as 

To what ustr needed to do with 

Those cases.

So we saw really widely varying 

Responses to the cases depending

On what our other equities were 

In the diplomatic relationship 

With the particular country.

And it came to a point by the 

Early 1990s where my 

Organization actually sued the 

Bush administration, the first 

Bush administration, under 

Something called the 

Administrative procedures act 

For complete failure to enforce 

The law.

So, fast forward then to the 

I think we can jump around a 


I might even sort of -- I'll do 

A quick note on cambodia and 

Then go straight to one of the 

Free trade agreements, a 

Bilateral agreement with more 

Binding stand arts after the 

May 10th deal that professor 


In the late 1990s, my 

Organization wrote a case on 


Cambodia had just received 

Benefits in 1999 under the 

Generalized system of 

Preferences program.

Remember, they were coming out 

Of basically a long period of 

Conflict and had the first 

Democratically elected 

Government that had just been 

Stood up in that country and 

They really did not have a 

Functioning labor law.

We brought a case forward in 

Timing is everything.

The bilateral relationship with 

Cambodia was such that this rose

To the top of the priority list 

In that diplomatic engagement.

There was robust engagement of 

The cambodian government around 

This case.

As a result of which the 

Cambodian government in 2001, I 

Believe -- okay so they passed a

New labor code which was not 

Perfect but wait an improvement 

Over the old french law that was

The only thing on the books.

They stood up and entity called 

The arbitration council which 

Could arbitrate labor disputes, 

And they put in place or allowed

To be put in place a program 

Administered by the 

International labor 

Organization, the ilo, which 

Monitored the entire brand-new 

Apparel sector.

Which was the major export 

Sector in the country just 

Getting off the ground in 

The ilo program was able to 

Regularly monitor and audit 

Labor conditions in all of 

Cambodia's garment factories.

That was a long time ago and 

Time permitting we can come back

To the what's going on lately 

Because there was a very 

Interesting -- as I am sure you 

Saw -- announcement last week 

That the eu is likely to suspend

Its benefits to cambodia over 

Human rights abuses.

So, be interesting to reflect on

Really gain.

But that was one example of very

Effective use of a case to 

Stimulate very, very specific 


That didn't solve -- cambodia is

Not a worker's paradise, very 

Poor country, but there was 

Specific outcomes from that 


The labor code, the arbitration 

Council and the introduction of 

A really quite innovative ilo 


I am going to just talk about 

One other case then we can do 

Work back and forth.

That is after the agreement that

Professor levin has described in

The mid-2000s, one of the 

Bilateral free trade agreements 

That was passed was with jordan.

The u.S.-jordan free trade 


Which had a labor chapter 

Commiserate with the may 10th 


And subsequent to the 

U.S.-jordan agreement being, you

Know, sort of passed, adopted, a

Number of u.S. Apparel 

Companies, you know, went to 

Jordan and began sourcing 

Apparel from jordan.

And the selling point on this 

Agreement, one of the selling 

Points had been creating jobs 

For jordanian women.

In reality, virtually all the 

Women in those factories were 

Imported migrant workers from 

Bangladesh, sri lanka, india, 

Even burma.

So, here you had an industry 

That had been stood up, you 

Know, sort of in the shadow of 

This new shiny agreement that 

Had labor conditionality but all

The workers wering my rabidity 


And a labor rights organization 

Exposed just a few years after 

The agreement had been passed, 

Exposed that many of these women

Had been trafficked.

So, they were victims of labor 


And many had been victims of 

Gender-based violence as well.

What was interesting was that in

The wake of the expose, again, 

Because of the existence of the 

Labor chapter and the agreement,

There was rapid diplomatic 

Engagement channels of 

Communication between the u.S. 

Trade representative and the 

Jordanian counterparts to say, 

This is a problem for us, we 

Can't have that.

You just negotiated this 

Agreement with us.

Arguably an issue that without 

That labor chapter would have 

Been way down at the bottom of 

The list for any sort of 

Diplomatic engagement with 


Think about jordan and where it 

Sits, its strategic importance, 

Its importance as a long 

Standing place where we've had 

To have military engagement, 

Humanitarian engagement because 

Of referees, et cetera.

All that is so important and yet

This trade issue about these, 

You know, couple dozen, 

Literally a few dozen garment 

Factories rose to some serious 

Diplomatic engagement around the


And I will say I didn't say and 

It wasn't in my bio but I spent 

The past six years working for 


And I mention that because I can

Tell you -- now, you know, sort 

Of this is getting just closer 

To the time when I joined aid.

Although it is a little bit 

Before my time.

That one of the very first 

Things that happen and I 

Resuscitated this from the files

Was that usa-id was ordered to 

Come up with funding to hire a 

Consultant and look and see what

Could be done to improve labor 

Rights conditions in the 

Factories which they did.

And through the course of the 

Negotiations a few things 


One of which was a version of 

That same ilo program to monitor

The apparel factories was stood 

Up in jordan.

So the jordanian government 

Agreed to, you know, several 

Changes including changes in the

Law that made it possible for 

The first time for jordanian 

Unions to actually represent 

Migrant workers.  So there was a

Legal change.

There was an actual change 

Because those workers actually 

Then had access to 


And there was the introduction 

Of a monitoring program that 

Assisted and facilitated to 

Actually improve overall and 

Raise up overall conditions in 

Jordan's apparel sector.

So, you know I can talk more 

About that and, you know, sort 

Of where things since then, but 

Yeah, I would say those are a 

Couple of examples of, you know,

You go in and as advocates we 

Were always really very tactical

About the use of the 

Instruments. The case itself 

Wasn't going to solve the 


It was important for other 

Actors to come in and say here 

Are practical things that can be

Done as a result of which you 

Know we can accept resolution of

The case.

So I think I'll stop.

I've got lots of other 

Interesting cases we can talk 

About as we go but I'll stop 

With those two for now.

moderator: I do think the 

Cambodian case is interesting 

For the point thaw made about 

The diplomatic context and the 

Broader equities what are the 

Conditions that the u.S. Or 

Other major players can advocate

Effectively for labor rights.

My very brief time swimming in 

The same stream as the two of 

You was in the mid-2000s in the 

Treasury department when we were

Working with cambodian 

Government on that and the 

Context of other development in 

Debt related negotiations.

At that time 58 percent of c

Cambodia's exports went to the 


So there was a high degree of 

U.S. Leverage.

There was a relationship between

The government that was still --

The government was not in full 

Control and the royalist forces 

Still had a major say in 


So the dynamics were very 

Favorable for negotiating on 

That issue.

I think you are right that in 

The early part of the 2000s, 

Cambodia saw the emergence of 

Some of the strongest labor 

Unions anywhere in southeast 

Asia as you also referenced more

Recently it's gone the other way

As the government has seen them 

As a source of political 

Opposition and has carried out 

Targeted assassinations against 

Labor leaders and so forth.

But for a phase when the 

Conditions were favorable, I 

Agree that it had a major impact

On the conditions for workers in

That country.

Particularly in the garment 

Sector which is such a major 


sander levin: let me just 

Comment briefly on those cases.

Very briefly.

As to cafta and as to mexico, a 

Bilateral agreement can 

Basically work if it's done 


We're in the same neighborhood.

And there isn't a way easily for

Producers to shift from mexico 

Or central america including 

Dominican republic some place 


So the challenge in a bilateral 

Agreement is to really make it 


And with cafta it was totally 


Enforce your own laws as bad as 

They are.

And I should point out I think 

One of the two major sources of 

Immigration from central 

America, two causes.

One is violence and the other is

Our economic conditions -- are 

Economic conditions.

So we paid a very heavy price in

Cafta for failure to have 

Enforceable labor conditions.

A high price.

Secondly, in terms of other 

Countries, I think you have to 

Have a multi-lateral structure 

Contrary to the view of this 

Administration which wants to do

Everything unilaterally or 


Because cambodia is a perfect 


It was the only place where the 

Labor movement of the united 

States became engaged.

And they supported our agreement

With cambodia.

The labor movement.

The date exactly.

It is the only case I can 

Remember where the american 

Labor movement in those days 

Were supportive of a trade 


The problem was that once unions

Were allowed and working 

Conditions got better the 

Companies moved their production

To other places, especially to 


So, while a bilateral system 

Will work in some cases, 

Contrary to the present notion 

Opposed to any multi-lateral 

Kind of structure, that was 

Critical as to cambodia.

moderator: on similar lines 

It was a peeric victory for the 

Labor groups in 2019 got a new 

Law finally passed on labor 

Protections in cambodia and the 

Wages went up by something like 

Garment factories literally 

Folded and moved as you are 


So, there is a pushing the 

Balloon dimension to this that 

Merits attention.

Let's get some of your thoughts 

And questions.

It looks like michael is going 

To start.

Maybe introduce yourself and 

Share with us the first of the 

Audience questions.

sander levin: no holds barred


I'm serious.

Trade is such a vital and 

Volatile issue that unless you 

Say no holds barred and people 

Are totally frank, we kind of 

Talk around each other.


I'll do my best to pull out the 


First thank you so much for 

Being here.

Michael vice.

A first year student focusing on

International policy.

Our first question is the u.S. 

Has expressed its displeasure 

With the lack of accountability 

For the wto appellate body.

What do you think could be 

Possible reforms to correct this


sander levin: let's answer 

That briefly.

The wto enforceable system, it 

Needs a basic reform.

But the president is using the 

Lack of it to make a point. 

S, approve aappointments so the 

Infrastructure today is totally 


There's only one person I think 

And it requires three.

We had lots of fights.

I won't bore you with the fights

Over the wto enforcement.

They went way overboard at 


It needs to be reformed, 


But the notion that you should 

Do without it and destroy it, 

Well we just used as an ask.

Hopefully the day will come when

Labor and environment are 

Part -- they are internationally

Enforced standards, right.

Because, otherwise, companies 


I mean look what happened in 

Central america.

I went to a place and I figured 

Out how much the workers were 


It was three women's panties and

It happened to have the price on


And where it was going.


They were making a dollar an 


When we figured out how much 

Labor went into that $5, you 

Could double the minimum wage 

That those mostly women, and 

Many single women with children,

Were making and it would have 

Increased the cost of the 

Panties at that place in the 

United states from $5 to $5.25 


Doubling the wage they were 

Receiving it would have increase

The cost to the consumer of 

$0.25. So we need to have 

Workable structures.

audience member: thank you 

For being here.

My name is pa tasha.

I am a first year dual degree 

Student in master of public 

Policy and master of science 


I have questions -- 

sander levin: say it loudly 

To everybody can hear okay.

audience member: I have a 

Question for both speakers.

The american labor movement is 

Often portrayed as being 


Protecting the benefits of 

Particular workers in a specific


Is that characterization fair?

What is the best way to create 

Solidarity between white male 

Blue collar union members in the

U.S. And immigrants in the u.S. 

Working around the world.

moderator: so, basically, the

Question is about when are we 

Going to see more of what you 

Described in cambodia in which 

The u.S. Labor unions go to bat 

For workers rights, conditions 

In other parts of the world and 

See them as part of the same 

Effectively the same mission.

Does either of you want to start

With that?

bama Athreya: I can just talk

About -- let me talk about a 

Couple of examples of, again, 

Uses in cases.

I think it's important to, you 

Know, recognize -- first of all 

To recognize that labor 

Movements are large membership 

Based movements and accountable 

To their members.

And that's fine, right.

That's how democratic 

Institutions work.

That being the case, you know, 

Again I feel like it's a 

Situation where it depends on 

What you look at.

If you look at what statements 

The labor movement, you know, 

And its representative 

Organizations the afl-cio may 

Have to make in a very high 

Profile debate about whether or 

Not to ratify a new trade 


It's understandable why there's 

A certain political cue lus that

The afl or another union might 

Have to make in that 


It can be very different when 

You look at this very granular 

Level at what is happening with 

Worker movements in particular 

Countries at particular times.

I'm going to talk about two more


The one is bangladesh.

And I think if people know 

Nothing else about bangladesh, 

Most people know that there is a

Very large garment sector in the

Country and that it has been the

Subject of some incredible 

Tragedies in recent years.

The most well-known traffic 

Incident is the collapse of the 

Rana plaza building in 2013 

Leading to the death of well 

Over a thousand workers.

But labor groups in bangladesh 

Had been in touch with labor 

Groups in the united states for 

Many years.

And there were solidarity 

Campaigns targeting some of the 

Big buyers of the apparel from 


In 2013, there was a review of 

Bangladesh's benefits under the 

Unilateral preference program, 

The gsp.

The afl-cio for years prior to 

The rana plaza collapse year 

After year had been filing 

Submissions to ustr, I mean, for

Many years, saying bangladesh's 

Labor laws are inadequate, 

They're not protecting these 

Workers, workers are not allowed

To organize, there must be 


And in 2013 that case finally 

Was taken up in a serious 


And I think professor levin had 

Something to do with that as 


He may want to comment.

And there was a suspension of 

Bangladesh's benefits.

Now that was a situation in 

Which the u.S. Labor movement 

Was very comfortable and had 

Been comfortable for years 

Pushing the u.S. Government to 

Enforce labor conditionality in 

A way that showed solidarity 

With groups on the ground in 


I think, you know, there are 

Other recent cases, actually 

I'll just talk about one other 

Case because people don't know 

About it and it's another great 


But again back to my point about

Cambodia, a lot of this is about

Timing is everything and where 

We are in the diplomatic 


Suazee land had trade 

Preferences under a program 

Called the africa growth and 

Opportunity act, agoa.

Guess what sector got stood up 


Yes the apparel sector.

I don't mean to just talk about 

The apparel sector but seems to 

Be a thing that countries do 

When they get trade programs in 


You know, in the early 2010s the

Country is a monarchy, it's very

Autocratic, it's very 

Repressive, was getting more and

More so.

And went as far as outlying all 

Civil society organizations.

Right to I a shoesh yate, 

Freedom of assembly, wiped it 


So that did not only affect 

Labor movements in suazee land.

You aren't even allowed to have 

A business organization because 

It was an association.

All the human rights groups got 

Wiped out.

Church groups got wiped out. You

Know, again, afl-cio brought a 

Petition to ustr on behalf of 

Its allies in the trade union 


And the simple push was that the

Country had to reform its law 

And organizations to allow a 

Associations, you know, allow 

Organizations to exist freely 

Once more.

Very successful case.

In the course of a few years -- 

I mean, and ustr yanked the 


They took away the agoa 


That was controversial.

People were being hurt.

The union was telling us we'll 

Take the pain.

Something has to change.

Benefits were removed.

Swazee government reformed the 


In the interval because many of 

Us that were working with the 

Swazee labor movement they were 

Able to survive through the 

Period of incredible repression 

And hold open that space for the

Rest of civil society, the human

Rights that groups that had go 

Go underground because they 

Could exist because they were in

The spotlight because of this 


So, when the law was amended and

It was possible to openly 

Associate once more, unions were

Able to, you know, it had been 

In the wedge in the door to open

That door wider for other 


Indeed I believe it was in 2018 

We restored agoa benefits.

So a couple examples where the 

Labor union was there and they 

Were the ones bringing the case.

sander levin: just a couple 

Of comments about labor.

The labor movement is going to 

Play a more substantial role in 

The enforcement of usmca.

That's been provided.

But I think the problem is going

To be the way it's structured.

Mexico is the only democracy on 

Earth which has the kind of 

Structure it now has with tens 

Of thousands of so-called 

Protection agreements that 

Workers have never seen, never 

Voted on.

It's going to be very hard to 

Make a dent in that.

And my concern is the way the 

Law is constructed it will make 

It even more difficult because 

It relates to individual 


But let me just say a word about


To the credit of the european 

Apparel makers, when they set up

After rana plaza where 1,100 

People died, the european 

Organization included the labor 


But the one that was set up by 

American companies did not.

And so while working 

Conditions -- and you know more 

About this first-hand than I do;

I haven't been there for a few 

Years now.

While the working conditions in 

Terms of safety have improved, 

The other conditions for workers

I don't think have.

So if you look at your clothing,

My guess is if we did it here 

Now probably a few of us would 

Have garments on that say 


And the workers there continue 

To be paid close to a dollar, a 

Dollar and a quarter an hour.

And how can you live on that?

That's what this country needs 

To ask.

How can people live on it?

And the answer is to central 

America they can't.

So it's one of the reasons they 


audience member: that leads 

Into our next question which is 

Focused for dr. Athreya but 

Please jump in.

Dr. Athreya you worked in the 

Ngo, private sector and the u.S.


Where do you feel most effective

In protecting workers and why?

bama Athreya: so, yeah, I 

Mean, there's not -- there's not

A choice there.

There's not really a choice.

And it's interesting because 

Most recently I've been in 


And in government had the 

Opportunity to see the flip-side

Of cases I had brought when I 

Was on the outside as an 


We had some very -- even over 

The past, you know, couple of 

Years, right, so we have had 

Some very good work by people in

Public service in the various 

U.S. Government entities that 

Work on these trade cases, you 

Know, with integrity bringing 

The cases forward.

But people in government can't 

Do that without the outside 

Groups who find the facts, bring

The cases forward.

You know, so to put the 

Information forward.

So this gives me an excuse to 

Come back to one of the early 

Points I made in the first few 


That is I don't think groups on 

The outside quite realized the 

Potential of what they could be 

Doing with these cases.

And the appetite that people and

Particularly people who are just

Charged with enforcing the laws,

Right, not the politicals, not 

The people who are making 

Policy, the people whose job it 

Is just to enforce the laws that

We have.

What they could do with more 

Information on more of the 

Conditions, you know, of what's 

Really happening on labor and 

Environment in more of these 


So, you know, I won't go on.

I will just say, like, that's 

Just such a necessary compliment

You really can't choose between 

Where you are more effective.

As for the role of business, 

That hasn't come up at all so 

Maybe an interesting moment to 

Take just, you know, a minute to

Think about that and just as a 

Discussion, you know, sort of 

Open up a discussion.

A lot of what I have observed 

And indeed what also when I was 

Working with the private sector 

Worked on, was standing up 

Systems to manage supply chain 


To mitigate risk in supply 


Reduce the risk of the exposure 

Of labor rights violations.

And those kinds of voluntary 

Risk management efforts are, you

Know, fine, but I feel they are 

A thing unto themselves and they

Don't really get at the heart of

What is meant to be addressed 

With these labor clauses in the 

Various trade instruments.

The reason they don't get there 

Is, again, going back to another

One of the points I made early 


Because really what all of those


Instruments do is create that 

Wedge, right.

Wedge open that space as I 

Described with the swazee.

Then it's really up to workers 

And worker organizations.

At the end of the day, who is 

Really going to improve 


Conditions of those supply 


Workers themselves if they had 

The agency to do so.

I think the business side 

Private voluntary programs, I 

Think professor levin you quite 

Rightly point out there are very

Few of the accord, which is the 

Eu agreement that was stood up 

After bangladesh, is one of the 

Very few that actually puts 

Unions into the equation and, 

You know, considers them as a 


For the most part, the rest of 

Them are perfectly happy to work

On health and safety.

They're perfectly happy to work 

On, you know, ending child 


But they will not go as far as 

Actually creating that space to 

Negotiate with workers.

sander levin: to its credit 

The university has a committee 

That works with the business 

Community in terms of its 


And I went to a meeting and I 

Think it would be well for the 

University to talk further about

How it is more effective.

It is a difficult issue.

But, you know, if we don't face 

Up to this, we're going to have 



Institutions need to step up to 

The plate.

If there were another rana 

Plaza, my guess is with all the 

Vitality among students at this 

University, you would see 


Rightfully so.


By the way they did not want to 

Go into rana plaza and they were

Told, if you don't go in, you're


So that's kind of what's at 


 In part.

What's next?

A lot of back and forth.

What's the most controversial 

Issue you can think of?

Most controversial question?

audience member: I don't know

If this is the most 

Controversial, but current labor

Laws in the u.S. Struggle to 

Adapt to new and different forms

Of employment such as the 


How did this affect labor right 

Promotion both domestically and 


sander levin: say that again.

audience member: current 

Labor laws in the u.S. Struggle 

To adapt to new and different 

Forms of employment such as the 

Gig economy.

How does this affect labor 

Promotion both domestically and 


bama Athreya: I can start on 

This since I've started doing 

Some research this year on 

Digital economy issues.

And so there's -- we don't know.

I mean, let me take a step back 

To people who are looking at the

Changes in the economy that are 

Being brought as a result of our

Moving into what some are 

Calling the fourth industrial 


Which is technology, artificial 

Intelligence and the ways in 

Which it is really sort of 

Changing the entire global 

Economic landscape.

We are -- and one thing that I 

Am just going to observe and 

Comment on is we are locked into

A conceptualization of labor 

Rights that dates back 100 


It dates back to the formation 

Of the international labor 

Organization in 1919.

Just after world war I.

And at a moment when governments

Were scared to death of what was

Happening in russia, you know, 

Sort of communist revolution, 

And workers rising up.

So we needed labor standards to 

Deal with that world as it 

Looked in 1919.

And so we have our current 

Modern day systems of industrial


And we have our notion of core 

Labor rights which are centered 

Around the premise that people 

Have formal employment.

What are core labor rights?

The right to associate, the 

Right to bargain collectively, 

The right to a workplace free 

From discrimination, the 

Abolition of child labor and the

Abolition of forced labor.

Great, they're all still really 

Important fundamental rights but

We absolutely need to think 

About the ways in which work 

Itself is now being mediated 

Very differently.

And this is the subject of 

Another talk.

[laughter] and not this talk 


And so, I mean, I think it is a 

Really interesting question 

Because we have to ask ourselves

How do we make those rights real

And meaningful in a world where 

Work itself is digitally 


sander levin: we had a 

Discussion on that yesterday.

That's how contemporary this 

Place is.

I think it was just yesterday 

Wasn't it?

And the economy is changing so 


So we need to ask questions.

By the way, universities are in 

The center of this rather 

Well-known institution on the 

East coast is very much involved

In this very issue.

It isn't quite the same issue, 

But it's -- these are not 

Industrial workers, typically.

And it's going be even more so 

With, I mean, what uber's 

Facing, right.

So that could be controversial 

For another session.

audience member: taking a 

Step back and looking at 

History, there's the korea-us 

Trade agreement that lasted 

Nearly ten years.

Despite extensive input, 

Vetting, review and 

Congressional oversight, what is

Wrong with the process that does

Not take into account the 

Principal that both of you 


How can we alter the process to 

Get such comprehensive views on 

The table?

sander levin: why don't you 

Answer that.

   [ laughter ]

   I mean, the comprehensive 

Issues about the broader 

Relationship in which this is 


It's not easy to answer that 


But I will say that a part of 

It -- it's related to the points

That my colleagues have made 

About multi-lateralism.

That it's difficult to imagine 

Even in a highly favorable 

Bilateral context of diplomacy 

To be effective in this space if

The multi-lateral machinery is 


Because as we all have mentioned

In different points in the 

Conversation, most of the labor 

Operations that we're discussing

Are for industries that are 

Quite easily movable.

And, therefore, will move if 

There are incentives to do that,

To find cheaper labor with fewer

Restrictions elsewhere.

So I think that this is -- I 

Guess where I would say to start

Is to repair and strengthen 

Multi-lateral trade 


Because without that no sum of 

Effective bilateral diplomatic 

Engagements is likely to resolve

This problem sustainably.

sander levin: we need to get 

Bilateral correct.

But to simply think we can go it

Alone, that's another subject in

A way.

audience member: has the 

Trade war between the u.S. And 

China affected how labor 

Standards are enforced?

Have any particular sectors 

Placed pressure in the 

Negotiating these deals?

sander levin: I'll just say a

Brief word about that.

Because when susan collins and I

Put together our course trying 

To find two subjects which 

Showed the huge bridge that 

Needed to be built between 

Strong academic learning and the

Challenges of implementing them,

We took unemployment insurance 

That hasn't been reformed since 

Its beginning really, and china 


So, actually that could be a 

Very controversial issue for 

Those of who us worked on china 

Pntr and eventually help to 

Construct it.

It was more than controversial.

Labor issues were included but 

Only in terms of the database on

Human rights, which is now the 

Strongest database that exists.

It included labor rights.

But you could ask a 

Controversial question:  why are

You so upset about labor rights 

In mexico when you redid usmca 

But not china?

That's a legitimate issue, 


And the answer I think is 


Number one.

As is true for china, there's a 

Direct impact of labor standards

In mexico in terms of jobs in 

The united states.

And that's true as to china.

Finally, economists kind of got 

Off the couch and some of them 

Decided there were two to three 

Million jobs in this country 

Lost because of china's exports 

To the u.S.

They've been less willing to 

Cope with mexico though it had a

Clear impact in terms of the 

Dual weight structure in the 

United states which we're just 

Beginning -- which is now being 


So the honest answer is you take

These step by step and where you

Can really bring about change 

You do it.

As to china it was simply very 

Difficult to really get at their

Labor practices through pntr.

There was no way to do it.

So, it is a really good question

And it is the kind of 

Controversial issue that we 

Should all discuss.

So, I'll leave it at that and 

Someone may want to pick it up.

audience member: can you 

Speak to legislation or laws 

Which give individuals in unions

The right not to pay dues?

There's some state laws going 

Into that allow people to -- 

sander levin: about what?

audience member: the right to

Work and the right for 

Individuals in the union to have

The right not to pay dues.

They can be part of the new 

Union without paying dues.

sander levin: this relates to

Right to work and dues paying.

bama Athreya: and also I 

Think the supreme court case as 


sander levin: maybe we should

Leave that to another time.

I mean, it's related but it's --

You can imagine how many of us 

Think how important it is.

But I think this is such a juicy

Subject that we don't want to 

Throw in another orange.

audience member: all right.

Shifting gears a little bit.

Please comment on the role of 

Labor journalists and the 

Unionizing of media companies on

The larger question of labor and


So what are the roles of labor 

Journalists and media companies 

On labor and trade?

sander levin: key.

No, I mean, just look what's 

Going on as to labor and 

Everything else in this country 


And there's a worrisome erosion 

Of journalism in this country.

And that's again another subject

For discussion.

Very worrisome.

I mean, it's journalists who 

Pick out, for example, the 

Issues to usmca.

Interestingly enough the best 

Journalism was done by some 

American reporters in mexico.

There really wasn't a very good 

Job done in my judgment.

But they're indispensable right.

And the closing of local 


Newspapers. So we can just leave

It at that.

It's critical.

audience member: so climate 

Change has played a major factor

In a lot of the developing 


It's affecting them the most.

Now how does climate change 

Policy developing countries 

Affect the labor market, labor 

Laws and international trade?

bama Athreya: these are all 

Such big questions.

So I always like to kind of 

Speak by example.

We do think there is a direct 

Relationship with -- I'm going 

To go to a direct example on 

This and that is bangladesh.

Bangladesh is is a country with 

An enormous coastline, has been 

Identified as highly vulnerable.

Highly vulnerable to climate 

Risk and rising sea levels.

And that will displace 

Increasing numbers of people.

We know already, right we can 

Forecast that that displacement 

Will then put additional 

Pressure on labor markets, 

Particularly urban labor markets

As people migrate from 

Vulnerable regions to cities in 

Search of some kind of 

Livelihood, economic livelihood,

Which in turn will likely 

Depress conditions in those 

Labor markets even further than 

They're already depressed.

And it's not obviously just 



It just happens to be a very big

Populous country.

It's like a petrie dish where 

You can see what's going to 


Arguably you will see obviously 

Very different but related 

Impacts when you look at 

Vulnerable communities, 

Particularly coastal 

Communities, in a number of 

Developing countries -- 

Sri lanka, coastal regions of 

India, indonesia, philippines.

We haven't even gotten to other 

Regions of the world yet.

And, you know, governments know 


And they know they're already 

Having to start to adapt to 

Shifting their approach -- their

Urban policy and urbanization.

Because they can see that 

They're going to have to deal 

With increasing waves of what 

We'll call climate refugees.

I would argue we're not paying 

Enough attention to climate 

Refugees as a cross board of 


We haven't talked except for a 

Little bit about migrant 

Workers. Most migrants in the 

World are economic migrants.

They're looking for jobs.

They have been on the rise and 

Really exponentially on the rise

Over the past decade.

People moving across borders, 

You know, in search of economic 


With the changes, again, and 

Vulnerabilities and risk to 

Communities posed by climate 

Change you're going to see 

Increasing levels of migration.

We're going have to deal with 

That as a labor market issue.

So, we're kind of off trade all 

Together now.

So, again, you know, lots of 

Good topics coming up in these 

Questions for future lectures 

But I think we need to think 

About and we haven't talked 

About what we are doing to 

Manage migration flows.

And I mean manage.

I don't mean sort of -- we're 

Not talking about keeping people


We're talking about the fact 

That people are moving.

Goods move, services move.

We have trade agreements.

Let's have sensible migration 

Agreements in place.

audience member: this 

Question pertains to technology 

And labor enforcement.

With the growing popularity of 

Using predictive analytics to 

Proactively enforce crimes in 

Various u.S. Cities, can this 

Technology be applied to 

Enforcing labor violations at 

Least in high income eocd 


Do you see any drawbacks to this

Enforcement approach?

bama Athreya: I'm all over 

This question because this was 

Some of the experimentation that

I got to, you know, had the 

Great plashir of being -- 

Pleasure with being involved 

With as my role at usa id.

We were actually interested in 

Highly vulnerable and invisible 

Populations of workers that we 

Knew were at risk of very 

Serious violations.

And one of my personal 

Obsessions was the young men and

Boys who work on fishing vessels

Around the world and who have 

Now been documented to, you 

Know, by a number of excellent 

Journalists to basically be 

Slaves at sea.

They're enslaved on fishing 

Vessels around the world.

Many are migrants from very poor


Once they're on the vessels 

They're not able to get off.

We knew they were off the grid, 

No labor inspectors could reach 


And and they were suffering 

Egregious labor and human rights

Violations. So we were extremely

Interested in what could be done

With technology given that there

Was no other way to get eyes and

Ears and access to these young 

Men and boys.

So we invested and we were not 

The only ones but there were 

Sort of a number of us that were

Seized with this question of 

Whether we could use some 

Combination of vessel monitoring

Technology and satellite 

Technology to triangulate and 

Identify where crew were most at


So, that given limited resources

In the world, you could better 

Pinpoint and get the resources 

That you do have to the people 

Who are most likely to be at 


You know, the jury is still out.

Investments have been made.

I think it will be interesting 

To see what comes of them.

I actually, you know, we can 

Talk more about this but, you 

Know, I think this is an area 

Where there's promise and 

There's peril.

And the promise again is really 

Finding people who are otherwise

Completely invisible and making 

Them visible.

The peril has to do with, you 

Know, as subject that I think 

More of us are becoming 

Increasingly aware of and that 

Is the nature of surveillance 

Technology and the information 

It captures that should be 

Protected private information.

So this has come up even with 

Respect to some of the things 

We've done to keep crews safe on

Vessels in southeast asia.

Things like using biometric I.D.

On crew so we know who has 

Gotten on the boat, who's gotten

Off the boat.

It's been pointed out there's 

Really serious privacy 


And potential violations and 

Abuses of the data that has been

Collected by governments for the

Purposes of keeping crews safe 

But anything, you know, sort of 

Can be used and subverted.

So that's I think a short answer

To the question.

Obviously I've got a lot more to

Say on this but it's an 

Interesting question.

sander levin: you know, it's 

More just briefly than 


Because in many countries I know

Somewhat first-hand about those 

Who leave nepal.

Their passports are taken.

They're just taken.

And so we need -- that's why 

There also needs to be a 

Multi-lateral structure relating

To these problems.

Can you imagine going to work 

And having your passport taken 

So you can't leave?

It happens all the time in many 


In thailand, in other eastern 


bama Athreya: and just to 

Make one more point to link it 


So, completely agree that you 

Can't just have, you know, tools

Are just tools you also need 

Systems in place that protect 


But just to tie this back to 


That particular -- this 

Particular case of thailand 

Improving systems to, you know, 

There's a long way to go but at 

Least track crew that are 

Getting on boats in thai ports 

Happened at all because the eu, 

The european union, brought a 

Trade case against thailand.

And so it's just, you know, 

Linking it all back together.

Some of these little things that

We might think are good ideas, 

You still need to create the 

Political space for them to be 

Adopted as well.

And trade in that case, you 

Know, trade scrutiny did that.

moderator: let's take one 

More question then we'll invite 

To you continue the conversation


audience member: this is 

Respect to the beginning of the 


How far do we know to impose 

Standards that we accept but are

Beyond the economic capabilities

Of the partner country?

Basic standards such as osha may

Force cultural obstacles.

How do we develop a mutually 

Acceptable levelling up 


sander levin: so how far do 

We go?

You know, in terms of labor, 

There's so much 


It isn't for us to determine the

Specific wage.

It's to make sure there's a free

Labor market.

And there's often a 

Misunderstanding of that.

There is no free labor market in


They now have a progressive 

Government that needs to face up

To that.

They're increasing the minimum 

Wage I think to $0.90 an hour.

That's an improvement.

But we need to be honest with 

Ourselves and honest with 


Essentially in that case, if I 

Might use it, it is a question 

Of our neighbor which is a 

Democracy now with a progressive

Government, making sure that 

There is a free democratic labor


So it can then lift up.

It's setting the conditions.

And the same is true of all 

Human rights, right.

It isn't a matter of our 

Dictating the results.

It's ensuring the opportunities.

And that's a very american idea 

Isn't it?

That is a very american idea.

That's kind of what our country 

Is all about, right?

It isn't results.

It's opportunity that can affect

The results.

And that's really what this 

Issue is all about.

So those who misdescribe it, no 

One expects the garment workers 

In bangladesh to be making 5, 6,

$7 an hour when they're making 

$1 an hour now, it's providing 

The tools for people to utilize.

And it's so american -- it's so 

Much a part of our creed that we

Need to simply be very, very 

Clear cut about what's at stake 


And I don't know if we're ending

But, I mean, we should be proud 

Of what's happened in this 

Country that helped create the 


It was a free labor market 

Wasn't it?

And so that's really -- and now 

In cambodia, I mean, there's a 

Dictator who is destroying the 

Labor movement.

When I was there it was 


And in vietnam when we were 

Negotiating tpp, all we said to 

The obama administration was:  

Just insist that vietnam move 

Towards a free labor market.

And when I went to australia and

Met with the negotiator, he said

To me, there will never be an 

Independent union in vietnam.

So, and they had thrown in jail 

Two people we med one there who 

Had been in jail for four years 

For trying to form an 

Independent union.

But we needed to be is very 

Clear cut.

There had to be real change as a

Condition in terms of 

Opportunity and in terms of 


So, it is a good question and in

A sense it isn't simple to 

Implement it but it's simple to 

State it.

And we need to be clear about 


And it relates to kind of 


You are getting me carried away.

I met armstrong sushi when we 

Went there.

And what a disappointment right.

So, now you have how many 

Millions, hundreds of thousands 

Of people who have lost their 



And the freedom to organize in 

Simple terms helped make the 

Middle-class of this country.

We should be damn proud of it.

And proud to incorporate it into

A realistic way in what we 


moderator: thank you.

That's a very nice closing 


And let's thank the towsley 

Foundation, the weiser family 

And, of course, our speakers, 

Dr. Bama Athreya and our own 

Professor Sandy Levin.


Now please feel free to continue

The conversation outside.