In the News

A Mother's Quest for Rights

El Diario NY
05/10/2009

Excerpt from article:

It is a tradition to give flowers on Mother's Day. But what many of us are not familiar with is the far from rosy story behind those flowers.

In Colombia, bouquets don't bring the same joy to Amanda Camacho and other workers in the flower industry. There, workers?the majority women?are paid an average of $8 a day to cut 350 to 400 flowers per hour. They have no health benefits yet are exposed to chemicals and pesticides. Workdays are as long as 12 to 15 hours with no overtime pay. And they are under threat for attempting to unionize.

Colombian Workers Pay High Price for Flowers

AFL-CIO NOW Blog
05/05/2009

Excerpt from article:

This Mother’s Day, remember the mothers in Colombia who grew, cut and trimmed the flowers you receive. Six days a week, Amanda Camacho and thousands of her co-workers at flower plantations in Colombia cut and trim at least 350 flowers an hour. In the weeks before holidays like Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, the work extends deep into the night—all for about $8 a day, less than the cost of a bouquet of carnations in the United States.

May Day Fails its Promise to Workers

Huffington Post
05/01/2009

By Bama Athreya

Virtually no one in the US celebrates May Day, International Workers' Day - and yet it all started here, and we continue to export the violence faced by the workers it commemorates. Workers who sew our clothes, grow our flowers, mine the metals used in our cars and cellphones are still facing the same problems faced by US workers a century ago.

NYPD uniforms allegedly made in sweatshop

UPI
05/01/2009

Some New York Police Department dress uniforms were made by a company that had employees working long hours without overtime, investigators said.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the department had generally been interested in the quality of the work and fabric used and did not investigate labor conditions, the New York Post reported Thursday.

The New York State Labor Department says Forest Uniform Corp. and a subcontractor, Technical Garment USA Co., owe $500,000 to 16 workers. One man who allegedly worked 70 to 80 hours a week may be owed $30,000...

NYPD used a 'sweatshop'

New York Post
04/30/2009

 

Some dress uniforms worn by NYPD cops were stitched together in a Garment District sweatshop where workers toiled up to 80 hours a week without overtime, state officials said yesterday.

The Police Department said it was surprised at the news, and immediately "suspended" the company, Forest Uniform, from its list of companies authorized to outfit officers.

"Our criteria is, we examine their workmanship and the quality of their materials," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. He said the department had never checked on working conditions there...

Police Uniforms Seized in Raid on Manhattan Garment Factory

New York Times
04/29/2009

When state labor investigators raided a clothing manufacturer near the Flatiron Building on Tuesday night, they were surprised by what they found.

Dangling on hangers, ready for delivery, were rows of dress uniforms — complete with the familiar insignia, the gold buttons, the deep blue fabric — intended for use for formal occasions by New York City police officers.

Brazil slave labor complaints rise

Associated Press
04/29/2009

By Bradley Brooks

Reports of debt slavery reached record numbers in Brazil last year, and most of the cases were connected to the nation's booming sugarcane ethanol sector, according to a report released Wednesday by a watchdog group.

The report from the Catholic Land Pastoral, indicated there were 280 cases debt slavery reported in 2008, a 6 percent increase over 2007.

The report - relying on government data - also showed that 36 percent of those cases were linked to sugarcane production, which drives Brazil's much-lauded production of ethanol.

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