Biden, Lula to Call for New Worker Protections at UN Meeting

(Bloomberg) -- Presidents Joe Biden and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will call for improved working conditions in the US and Brazil at a joint event in New York on the sidelines of next month’s United Nations General Assembly, according to Brazilian Labor Minister Luiz Marinho.

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Marinho said in an interview with Bloomberg News on Monday that the leaders “will launch a kind of manifesto calling attention to the need to improve labor relations,” that would touch on work environments and pay.

The meeting is scheduled to take place on Sept. 19, after both presidents address the General Assembly, according to people from the Brazilian government familiar with the plans, who requested anonymity to discuss them.

Biden and Lula, as his Brazilian counterpart is commonly known, are at odds over issues including Russia’s war in Ukraine and relations with China. But Brazilian authorities have cast the leaders as being in lockstep in their support for unions in their countries.

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Biden has cast himself as the most pro-union president in US history and taken steps to strengthen labor unions, a key part of his electoral coalition in the 2024 election.

The presidents last spoke by phone on Aug. 16 when they discussed common goals on climate and other issues. Biden hosted Lula at the White House in February.

The meeting comes as Brazil is working with allies to grow the influence of the BRICS group. Last week, leaders from Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa agreed to expand the group by inviting Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia and the United Arab Emirates to join. The move is a bid to broaden the global influence of the group of emerging market nations, bringing together many of the world’s largest energy producers with the developing world’s biggest consumers.

During the summit, Brazil’s government also proposed a plan to Argentina that would use the yuan to guarantee export payments in order to bypass cash shortages and keep trade flowing.

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