President Joe Biden and his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will launch a pact on workers rights that will call for improving labor conditions in their countries when they meet in New York on Wednesday.
The two presidents plan to say that their partnership will help workers address what they consider central challenges — like the transition to the gig economy and clean energy technology, according to US officials. The agreement will also focus on how to decrease worker exploitation, including forced labor, child labor, and workplace discrimination against women, LGBTQI+ and racial and ethnic groups. And greater scrutiny will be placed on accountability in public and private investments, the officials added.
“Let’s see if we can point out to society, especially young people, an alternative, what we can do to awaken in young people the hope that they will have a job that allows them to live with dignity,” Lula told reporters in New York on Tuesday night.
Brazilian authorities have cast the leaders as being in lockstep in their support for organized labor in their countries. Biden calls himself the most pro-union president in American history and has taken steps to strengthen labor unions, a key part of his electoral coalition before the 2024 election.
“In the face of complex global challenges, from climate change to rising poverty levels and economic inequality, we must put workers at the center of our policy solutions,” the leaders said in a joint statement obtained by Bloomberg News. “We must stand with workers and empower them to drive the innovation we urgently need to secure our futures.”
Biden administration officials stressed that the US and Brazil’s relationship isn’t just bilateral, but a global partnership on such issues as non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and food security. The two nations are the two largest exporters of food in the world.
The two nations hope to expand their partnership with more countries, aides said.
Biden administration officials said the two presidents were likely to talk about Lula’s criticism of the US embargo on Cuba, as well as their shared agenda.
This is the second time Biden has met in person with Lula, who returned to the Brazilian presidency earlier this year, since he took office. The first encounter was at the White House in February. Brazil will host the Group of 20 summit next year.
Relations between the United States and Brazil have warmed since the return to power of veteran leftist Lula, who unseated right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro in elections last year.