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The DC Labour Rights group (DCLR - www.dclabourrights.org) was established in 2012 and we've had a tremendous run organizing and working towards worker rights in Hong Kong and China. The group currently consists of roughly 25 exceptionally passionate students from Discovery College. The DCLR students have begun building a network of labour rights focused student groups in Hong Kong and have worked closely with students from the UWC Li Po Chun campus, a number of schools throughout the English Schools Foundation as well as a number of other secondary schools in Hong Kong

The group initially focused on labour issues surrounding factories associated with VTech. We received thousands of signatures on a petition to open a dialogue with the company, received media coverage throughout Hong Kong and attracted the support of a number of local and regional NGO's. Sadly, VTech was not interested in discussing these conditions with us, but undeterred the students pressed on.

The DCLR students have worked together to create a mini-documentary regarding labour issues which will be released by Jan, 2016, have been invited to present at a TedX event at the China University Hong Kong, are currently working on a document that helps workers understand the guidelines set forth by the Chinese government on worker and labour violations and laws, are working on a campaign to address labour issues with local, outsources staff at the school and continue to work closely with NGO's in Hong Kong to organize actions to address labour issues.

The group has received a great amount of media coverage, most recently in the South China Morning Post Click here for article.

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About the Youth Labor Committee:

YLC

The Youth Labor Committee was an anti-sweatshop/worker and human rights group at Dundee-Crown High School. The group was created and was led by Dundee-Crown students and social studies teacher Bruce Taylor. After talking with Mr. Charlie Kernaghan of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights (http://www.globallabourrights.org/) a group of students began discussing tangible ways they could attack these issues head on. Within a week of the discussion the foundations for the organization were set and we got to work.

The Youth Labor Committee (YLC) is believed to be the first high school anti-sweatshop organization of its kind in the United States. During the time with the organization, an average of 25 students devoted 35 minutes of each school day towards working on human rights campaign. The organization quickly covered a tremendous amount of ground in the two short years of its existence. The goal of the YLC was to continue to spread awareness of global working conditions, sexual inequality in the workplace and the use of child and forced labor. The group's website, which can still be viewed at www.ylcnet.org , has an overview of the press coverage and actions undertaken by the group.

The main focus of the YLC was around the use of sweatshops by major US based retailers, to which we received a good amount of press coverage. Perhaps most notably, YLC students and I, along with Mr. Charles Kernaghan, were invited to Chicago Public Radio to be on their flagship program, Worldview with Jerome McDonnell (http://www.wbez.org/worldview). Worldview has a very broad and loyal audience and is followed by millions of listeners, which was an amazing opportunity for the YLC to present our actions. The audio recording can be listened to below:

Apart from our coverage through WBEZ our actions were also highlighted through Chicago news organizations, local newspapers and our reach has even expanded into Sri Lanka with a feature story on the main daily newspaper, The Sunday Leader. The group frequently held lectures, both at Dundee Crown and at other local high schools, to discuss our current efforts that draw in well over 2000 students.

It was incredible working with the students in the YLC, many of which have gone on to study and/or work in related fields and I'm very happy to be able to continue similar work at present Discovery College.

Goals and Achievements of the Youth Labor Committee:

The YLC is well into its second year but we feel we have made tremendous gains in our short time as an organization. Our main campaign has focused around the use of sweatshops by major US based retailers, to which we have received a good amount of press coverage. Most recently, YLC students and I, along with Mr. Kernaghan, were invited to Chicago Public Radio to be on their flagship program, Worldview with Jerome McDonnell (http://www.wbez.org/worldview). Worldview has a very broad and loyal audience and is followed by millions of listeners, which was an amazing opportunity for the YLC to present our actions. The audio recording can be listened to below:

YLC

Apart from our coverage through WBEZ our actions have also been highlighted through Chicago news organizations, local newspapers and our reach has even expanded into Sri Lanka with a feature story on the main daily newspaper, The Sunday Leader. We frequently hold presentations, both at Dundee Crown and at other local high schools, to discuss our current efforts that draw in well over 2000 students. Currently we are producing and presenting four presentations per school year which is double the volume we were presenting the previous year.

We are pleased to see our group expand into other schools with our second chapter starting earlier this school year. Beyond Illinois we have groups starting in Michigan and as far away as Istanbul, Turkey. We are pleased with all we have accomplished in the past two years and are excited about a continued future within labor activism.