Task Force: International Wage Policies
You have been hired by the International Labor Organization (ILO) to implement policies for fair wages across borders in order to prevent companies from taking advantage of people working in low income countries.
Why Are We Doing This?
Minimum wage policies differ throughout the world and US-based companies often choose to move their operations to places with lower minimum wages and fewer regulations. The result is workers who are underpaid and exploited. According to the Department of Labor, “Regulations require that the wages attested to on foreign labor certification applications must be the average wage paid to all other workers in the requested occupation in the area of intended employment.” Here we ask you to design a policy for fair wages that U.S. companies operating across borders would be required to implement for their workers.
- Before you begin, research information about fair wages in the United States.
- What are some labor laws in the US?
- What’s the national minimum wage?
- Find out where international workers might be exploited for their labor.
- Which countries/regions are known for poor labor standards?
- What does the ILO say about this issue?
- Consider current guidelines for paying international workers and whether or not you think they are fair.
- What are some major industries that use foreign labor?
- Then, try to come up with a plan for what your international wage policy will look like.
- Based on your research, what companies have been proven to be taking advantage of workers in other countries?
- What countries have lower minimum wages than the United States?
- How fair are these wages?
- How might this impact how employers pay these workers?
- How should this impact how employers pay their workers?
- Describe your wage policy. How is it different from existing guidelines?
- How might you (the ILO) make sure your policies are being enforced?
- Think through the possible objections about your policy that someone might have.
- Share with the group and see if you can convince them to adopt your international wage policies.
Things to Keep in Mind:
- You do not have to come up with an exhaustive list of guidelines for your plan. Choose a few that you are prepared to defend.
- Your plan should be something that could be realistically implemented.