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Key Staff

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Headquarters. Pittsburgh, PA, United States

Charles Kernaghan, director

Charles Kernaghan is director of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights (the Institute).  Kernaghan first became involved in the protection of worker rights while on an international religious peace march through Central America in the mid-80s, when scores of union leaders were being assassinated.

Kernaghan joined the Institute (then National Labor Committee) in 1988 and became its director in 1991.  He is perhaps best known as "the man who made Kathie Lee cry" after exposing that 13-year-old children were working in a brutal Honduran sweatshop earning just pennies an hour sewing Kathie Lee Gifford's clothing line for Wal-Mart.  Kernaghan's work is widely recognized as having launched the anti-sweatshop movement in the U.S.

Kernaghan has testified frequently in the U.S. Congress, documenting gross worker rights violations in China, Bangladesh, Central America and Jordan, where the Institute exposed the descent of the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement into the human trafficking of tens of thousands of young foreign guest workers, who were stripped of their passports and forced to work 15 hours a day, cheated on their wages, often beaten and half-starved.

Kernaghan has spoken at over 200 universities and has been featured in better than a dozen documentary films.

 

Barbara Briggs, associate director

Barbara Briggs joined the Institute (then National Labor Committee) in 1989 after two years in Central America, where she worked as a researcher and translator with Salvadoran and Guatemalan unions.  Briggs helped build the contacts with Central American unions and human rights organizations necessary for the Institute's early exposés on child labor, worker abuses and the use of U.S. tax dollars to encourage U.S. companies to move offshore.  Briggs serves as liaison with the Institute's partners in Central America and Bangladesh.

Together with Charles Kernaghan, Briggs has co-led many research trips and delegations to Central America, Bangladesh, India and Jordan.  She has also played a key role in organizing the Institute's U.S. tours of young factory workers.  In dozens of cities across the U.S., the workers met with trade unionists, the religious community, university and high school studentsoften the workers' same ageto talk about what it is like working in factories producing for Disney, Wal-Mart, university logo and popular U.S.-name brands, the long hours, forced overtime, below-subsistence wagesand their struggle to learn and win their fundamental rights.

 

Bangladesh/Middle East Office. Dhaka and Chittagong, Bangladesh

Rafiqul Alam has been the Institute's field director for Bangladesh and Middle East since 2001. Prior to his work with the Institute, Alam worked with various multi-sectoral children's, women's human and labor rights and development programs, including CARE International and the Institute for Integrated Rural Development. He has a Master's degree from Bangladesh's National University and a diploma in Development Management from the University of Antwerp. The Institute's work in Bangladesh focuses on research and supporting worker rights in the garment and shipbreaking industries. In the Middle East <w:LsdException Locked="f