Need for U.S. Objectives in the International Labor Organization

ID-77-12: Published: May 16, 1977. Publicly Released: May 16, 1977.

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GAO has issued several reports since 1970 on U.S. involvement in the International Labor Organization (ILO) and has made recommendations to the Secretary of State with which he has agreed, but has done nothing about. The ILO, established in 1919 to set standards which improve working conditions, generate employment, and promote human rights, is a tripartite organization, whose U.S. delegation is selected by the Department of Commerce and the AFL-CIO.

U.S. relations with the ILO have deteriorated to such an extent that in November 1975, the United States gave notice that it intends to withdraw unless ILO can resolve its problems. The Departments of Commerce, Labor, and State have objectives for U.S. participation, but there is little coordination of these objectives. U.S. agencies have taken steps to improve participation only since the notice of intent to withdraw. The Labor Department has begun to attempt to obtain additional budget data, has increased analysis staff, and has recognized the need for effective evaluation of ILO projects. The Labor Department steps should be coordinated with the other concerned agencies and groups. A statement of long-term objectives of the agencies would help them formulate a recommendation to the President as to whether or not to withdraw.

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