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24 Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies 597 (2017)


Raising global labor standards has been a goal of labor activists, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and nations for over a century. The International Labor Organization (ILO) was created nearly one hundred years ago for that purpose, but a century later its goal remains largely unfinished. This paper will propose a retooling initiative for the ILO that will give it the enforcement power it needs for real labor standard change and the resources it needs to use that enforcement power to promote work according to established international labor standards. This enforcement power will take place through regional free trade agreements (RFTAs), which have increased greatly in popularity over the past twenty years. The initiative will take a degree of voluntarism on behalf of the trade partner countries and their multinational corporations (MNCs), but it will satisfy goals of all parties involved, including the MNCs that will pay for the enforcement.