When former dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972, he banned unions and workers’ organizations. Despite this, Filipino workers persevered in forging unity and waging collective action for their rights, government reforms and social change.

In the outpouring of protests that followed the assassination of opposition Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino III in 1983, unions and workers’ organizations played a major role. The Marcos dictatorship responded with severe repression.

It was in this context that a group of religious people, labor rights advocates and trade unionists banded together in 1984 to found the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR).

CTUHR was formed in the spirit of Filipino workers’ struggles, broad public solidarity for these struggles, and opposition to state repression. It stands for workers’ inherent right to life and dignity, and supports workers’ efforts to claim their rights, fight exploitation and attain social change.

CTUHR has been consistent in supporting workers’ struggles at the workplace, regional, industry and national levels. It has supported workers who seek to claim their rights and form unions or organizations. Since its founding, it has always taken a stand and action on all major workers’ campaigns and struggles. It has worked to bring the Filipino workers’ struggle in productive dialogue with workers and their advocates at the international level.

CTUHR recognizes the major changes that were brought about by neoliberalism to labor and the labor movement since the 1990s. With employers finding it easy to shut down operations and transfer location, and to retrench workers who try to unionize, the cause of workers’ labor and human rights is more urgent than ever.

In its 40 years of existence, CTUHR has offered educational, paralegal, campaign and advocy services, as well as various forms of assistance, to numerous workers, workers’ unions and organizations, and victims of labor and human rights violations, as well as their dependents and families.