The International Commission for Labor Rights (ICLR) was started in 2002 by a group of lawyers from around the world, dedicated to supporting workers' and trade union rights. Confronted with the increasing difficulty of defending these rights in isolation in their own countries – as corporations, supply chains, investment, and workers themselves crossed international borders more and more – the lawyers resolved to create a network to enable them to share information and strategies.
Today, there are more than 300 lawyers, legal workers and labor experts around the world who are part of the ICLR network. These lawyers are able to respond rapidly to requests for facts related to particular violations, legal advice, expert opinions, information on political realities country-by-country, concrete experiences with different legal and political fora. In addition, ICLR has convened delegations of lawyers, at the request of individual unions and global federations, to investigate allegations of labor rights violations in specific countries and contexts, writing reports that have formed the basis of domestic litigation and international complaints.
The work of the ICLR network is coordinated through a small non-profit based in New York, which also engages in substantial outreach, both to legal experts to expand the network, and to small unions and grassroots workers' organizations to ensure that they have access to ICLR's experts for research, advice, and complaints to domestic and international bodies.