The High Level Labor Dialogue between the United States and Argentina will take place on May 9 and 10, organized by the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security. The U.S. Department of Labor´s Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs, Thea Lee, and Department of State Special Representative for International Labor Affairs, Kelly Fay Rodríguez, will lead the U.S. government delegation. Ambassador Marc R. Stanley and union and business representatives will join the delegations for the opening.
The Dialogue will reaffirm the commitment of both countries to adhere to the MPOWER (Multilateral Partnership for Organizing, Worker Empowerment, and Rights) global initiative launched by President Biden in 2021, that seeks to ensure working families thrive in the global economy and elevates the role of trade unions and organized workers as essential to advancing democracy.
In addition to participating in meetings with their Argentine counterparts, the delegation will visit the Province of Buenos Aires to learn about the implementation of the Responsible Agricultural Production (PAR) program financed by the Department of Labor to combat child labor. They will also meet with the representative of the International Labor Organization in Argentina and will hold a meeting with women leaders of the Argentine union movement.
Deputy Undersecretary of Labor for International Affairs
Thea Lee was named Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs on May 10, 2021. She has been advocating for workers’ rights, both domestically and internationally, for over thirty years. She was president of the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive pro-worker Washington think tank, from January 2018 to May 2021 and an international trade economist at EPI in the 1990s. From 1997 to 2017, Lee worked at the AFL-CIO, a voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions that represent 12.5 million working men and women. At the AFL-CIO, she served as deputy chief of staff, policy director, and chief international economist.
Lee has served on the State Department Advisory Committee on International Economic Policy, the Export-Import Bank Advisory Committee, and on the Boards of Directors of the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Congressional Progressive Caucus Center, the Center for International Policy, and the Coalition on Human Needs, among others. She served on the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission from 2018 to 2020. In 2022, she was appointed to the Congressional-Executive Committee on China.
Lee holds a master’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and a bachelor’s degree in economics cum laude from Smith College.
Kelly Fay Rodríguez
Department of State Special Representative for International Labor Affairs
Kelly M. Fay Rodríguez is the Special Representative for International Labor Affairs. She is a dedicated advocate for workers’ rights and social justice in the United States and abroad. Most recently, she served as Trade and Labor Oversight Counsel for the Democratic majority of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Ways and Means, with oversight over all U.S. trade agreements, policies, and programs. She also co-led staff for the Committee’s Racial Equity Initiative on health and economic issues. From 2012 to 2020, she worked for the American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO) and the Solidarity Center on domestic and global trade union programs. She led the Center’s flagship program in Bangladesh, which included legal support, trade union capacity-building, and strategic international supply chain advocacy. Previously, she worked on migrant workers’ rights and helped manage labor programs in Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru.
She earned her law degree from City University of New York School of Law, where she was a Haywood Burns Human and Civil Rights Fellow and completed the Human Rights and Gender Justice Clinic. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Latin American Studies and Spanish from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.