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Come Saturday Morning: The Worst Places to Work, Worldwide


While the majority of the US news media was aiding and abetting the Republican neocons’ revenge against a former Pentagon general, Eric Shinseki, who had dared to criticize the planned invasion of Iraq back in the post-9/11 days when the shock-driven war and fear frenzy gripping America was at its height, versions of this story were quietly making their ways around the reality-based community:

A new report by the International Trade Union Confederation, an umbrella organization of unions around the world, sheds light on the state of workers’ rights across 139 countries. For its 2014 Global Rights Index, the ITUC evaluated 97 different workers’ rights metrics like the ability to join unions, access to legal protections and due process, and freedom from violent conditions. The group ranks each country on a scale of 1 (the best protections) to 5 (the worst protections).

The study found that in at least 35 countries, workers have been arrested or imprisoned “as a tactic to resist demands for democratic rights, decent wages, safer working conditions and secure jobs.” In a minimum of nine countries, murder and disappearance are regularly used to intimidate workers.

The absolute best place to be a worker? Denmark, the only country to have a perfect score in every category.

The absolute worst places? Pretty much anywhere there’s open civil or other sorts of war or dysfunction that shreds the societal fabric: Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Ukraine, Libya, Syria, Palestine, and the Central African Republic.

The barely-a-notch-above-the-places-that-are-falling-apart places? China and India lead that pack, to no one’s surprise, with Saudi Arabia and Algeria in the same cohort.

The just-a-notch-above-China places are led by the US and Greece, both of which have seen once-strong protections for workers eroded almost to nothing. (How badly are US workers faring, according to this report? Post-Soviet Russian workers have more rights and legal recourse than we do. Seriously — Russia scores a 2 to the US’ 4. And Venezuela, often attacked by the US press, scores a 3, one notch better than America.)

This is of course devastating news, which is why it will probably not make it onto any mainstream TV newscast anytime soon.

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