June 2005, Vol. 128, No. 6
Reinserting labor into the Iraqi Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs
Served as an international education program specialist in the Bureau of International Labor Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor from 2002 to 2005.
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The U.S. Department of Labor has been actively involved in the reconstruction of Iraq. During the summer of 2003, Assistant Secretary for Policy Chris Spear served as Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) senior advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA). Elissa Pruett acted as senior press officer in Strategic Communication at CPA. Later that summer, the Department’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) assigned me to CPA, followed in the fall by James Rude, senior international program manager. Both of us acted as labor advisors to the Iraqi Ministry. In January 2004, the Department sent trial attorney Wade Green to Baghdad, where he served as Attorney–Commercial Law Reform Group, and where, among other things, he worked to revise the Iraqi Labor Code.
In addition to personnel assignments, the ILAB also funded a $5-million project designed to demobilize, rehabilitate, and reintegrate former Iraqi soldiers within the framework of a larger workforce development program. This grant was the cornerstone of Iraqi labor reform beginning in August 2003. For most of 2004, up to nine U.S. Department of Labor-funded international consultants worked at the Ministry daily, providing technical assistance and building the capacity of the Labor Directorate within MOLSA.
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