In the News

Sweatshop purchasing law debated

The Pittsfield Gazette

Regulating conditions of workers who create city-purchased garments should not be accomplished through an ordinance, several city councilors stated this week.

During a Monday meeting of the ordinances & rules subcommittee, a proposed “sweatshop” law detoured back to the city solicitor for a makeover into a less formal “policy.”

The “sweatshop” initiative — based on laws enacted in other municipalities — was first proposed locally by Rinaldo Del Gallo III. Liana Foxvog, an activist supporting such laws, has travelled to Pittsfield to promote the discussion...

Business Aims to Relax Bans on Products Made with Child & Slave Labor

Open Left

By David Sirota

We've seen corporations use "free trade" agreements to quietly camouflage their push for exploitable labor in broader arguments about globalization. What we haven't seen is corporate special interests openly push for U.S. regulators to openly allow companies to sell goods made with child and slave labor...until now.

Check out this report from Inside U.S. Trade (no link- subscription required) - it's straight from the I Sh*t You Not File:

Business Groups Wary Of Labor Provisions In Finance Customs Bill

Inside U.S. Trade

By Jamie Strawbridge

Business groups are worried by the potential effects of provisions banning the import of all goods made with convict labor, forced labor, or forced or indentured child labor that were included in a customs bill sponsored by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Charles Grassley (R-IA).

Shopping you can feel good about: Buying the union label


Many consumers assume that if a car is "American-made," it must have been built by union-represented workers. Not true. The UAW has prepared a guide to provide information for consumers who want to purchase vehicles produced by workers who enjoy the benefits and protections of a union contract. The 2010 list includes cars, trucks, pickups, vans, SUVs and crossovers from U.S., European and Asian-based carmakers. 

“Reverse Trick-or-Treaters” Deliver Fair Trade Chocolate

Worldwatch Institute

By Ben Block

..."One of the concerns we've seen is that some of the activities children are involved in are inappropriate to their age: carrying heavy loads, using machetes on farms," said Bill Guyton, president of the World Cocoa Foundation, a developer of several industry-supported training sessions in cocoa-growing regions of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Americas. "Through farmer field schools, we explain to parents why activities are dangerous to young people."

Liberian study finds US rubber company polluting

Associated Press

By Jonathan Paye-Layleh

Liberia's government says waste products from the American-owned Firestone Rubber Plantation Company are polluting nearby creeks.

Firestone spokesman Rufus Karmoh said Thursday that Firestone will continue to work with the country's Environmental Protection Agency to address the recommendations in the government's report. He declined to comment further.

Firestone in Liberia 'pollution'

BBC News

An investigation by the government in Liberia has concluded that the Firestone Rubber Plantation Company has polluted local water sources.

The three-month investigation found that a plant south-east of the capital Monrovia was responsible for high levels of orthophosphate in creeks.

The report called on Firestone to improve its waste treatment facility.

Firestone said it believed it fully complied with environmental law and its waste water was not harmful to health.

Sample testing