In the News

Workforce Abuse Jeopardizes US Trade Status: Union

Voice of America

If the government continues to ignore labor violations and fails to address working conditions, it risks its special trade access to lucrative US markets, a leading labor leader said in Washington last week.

Marking the 10-year anniversary of a preferential Cambodia-US trade agreement in Washington, Art Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labor Confederation, said unfair practices and poor working conditions will continue without the intervention of the international community...

Labor Fight Ends in Win for Students

New York Times


The anti-sweatshop movement at dozens of American universities, from Georgetown to U.C.L.A., has had plenty of idealism and energy, but not many victories.

Until now.

The often raucous student movement announced on Tuesday that it had achieved its biggest victory by far. Its pressure tactics persuaded one of the nation’s leading sportswear companies, Russell Athletic, to agree to rehire 1,200 workers in Honduras who lost their jobs when Russell closed their factory soon after the workers had unionized...

Protests persuade Russell Athletic to rehire Honduran workers

The New York Times


The anti-sweatshop movement at dozens of American universities, from Georgetown to U.C.L.A., has had plenty of idealism and energy, but not many victories.

In August, members of United Students Against Sweatshops picketed a Target store in Washington, to pressure the retailer to stop selling products made by Russell Athletic.

Until now.

Tobacco poison surrounds child workers

The Sunday Times (UK)

By Dan McDougall

The children pick through mountainous piles of waste tobacco and sweep it up with their bare hands into giant bags in the hope of scraping a living. From behind a veil of dust, they stare back at us with bloodshot eyes.

As the wind gathers in a fading dusk, infant siblings strapped to their mothers’ backs wail amid swirling, noxious clouds of tobacco.

Drummond Co. confident of victory in legal battles over Colombia operation

The Birmingham News

Drummond Co. said Tuesday it is confident of victory in legal battles over its Colombia operation, which has been the subject of considerable litigation.

"After seven long years of defend­ing three lawsuits, two of the cases have been decided in Drummond's favor," company President Garry Neil Drummond said Tuesday. "The goodwill and name of the company will be preserved."

The developments have stacked up quickly this week in what has been an odyssey of litigation related to Drummond's 4,000-employee mine near La Loma, Colombia:

Uzbek cotton fields still using child labour

BBC News

By Rustam Qobil

Cotton is big business in Uzbekistan, and a vital source of hard currency in a country which is chronically underdeveloped and where many live below the poverty line.

But last year some Western clothes retailers threatened to boycott Uzbekistan - one of the world's leading cotton producers - if it did not stop using schoolchildren to pick this vital harvest.

As a result, the Uzbeks officially banned the use of child labour, but they now seem to have reneged on their promise, with children as young as 11 or 12 working in the fields.

Activist 'beaten' after BBC story

BBC News

An Uzbek rights activist has said he was beaten up after helping the BBC investigate the use of child labour in Uzbekistan's cotton industry.

Bakhtiyar Hamrayev said he was attacked within hours of the story appearing on the BBC News website and radio.

The report found that children as young as 11 were being taken out of school to help pick the cotton harvest.

The government pledged to stop using child labour last year after some Western firms boycotted Uzbek cotton.