Obama's Mariel Deal Violates International Labor Law

Tuesday, February 16, 2016
The Obama Administration has given a special license to a small U.S. company, Cleber LLC, to invest and export components to the Cuban military's Mariel economic zone, in order to manufacture tractors.

First and foremost, this deal violates U.S. law, including the Obama Administration's most recent regulations.

It also raises transparency issues, as it involves a company that has never built a single tractor, or that has any experience in doing so. Instead, it stems from a concerning relationship between one of its founders, who has been traveling to Cuba since the mid-1990s, and Castro regime officials.

Finally, Cleber LLC's deal with the Cuban military's Mariel economic zone, violates major international labor covenants.

It's shameful how the Obama Administration, which claims to be a champion of labor, will now allow this American company to partake in such gross violations of international law.

This deal, with the seal of approval of the Obama Administration, clearly violates the following covenants:

1. Freedom of Association and Protection to Organize Convention (No. 87) - Article 1(g) of Cuba's Labor Code grants the workers “the right to associate themselves voluntarily and establish Unions.” In practice, it is not allowed.

2. Protection of Wages Convention (No. 05) - Cuba violates this Convention that prohibits deductions from wages with a view to insuring a direct or indirect payment for obtaining or retaining employment made to a state intermediary agency.

3. Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention (No. 98) - Collective bargaining is nonexistent in Cuba.

4. Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (No. 111) - By selecting the workers to supply to foreign enterprises, Cuba does not follow the mandate of equality of opportunity or treatment in employment and occupation.

5. Employment Policy Convention (No. 122) - Cuba’s policy is of selecting who works where, regardless of skills or endowments, and transfers are not the result of the will of the worker.

And also:

6. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 23) - Nonexistent in Cuba are: the right to work; free choice of employment; just and favorable working conditions; protection against unemployment; the right to equal pay for equal work; just and favorable remuneration; and the right to form and join trade unions.