In the News

Violence in Colombia Continues

ITUC Online

Brussels, 27 March 2009: Murders of trade union leaders and members and violence against the trade union movement are continuing, despite the Colombian authorities' assertions to the contrary. Ramiro Cuadros Roballo, Walter Escobar Marín, José Alejandro Amado Castillo and Alexander Pinto Gómez were murdered this March, bringing to nine the number of trade unionists killed in 2009.

Church brings activist’s case to US Congress: Seeks review of military aid to the Philippines

Inquirer (Philippines)

By Vincent Cabreza

Inquirer Northern Luzon

BAGUIO CITY—The Episcopal Church of the United States has presented the case of a missing Baguio activist to the US Congress in seeking a review of the military aid appropriated for the Philippines.

Rev. Canon Brian Grieves, director of the Advocacy Center of the Episcopal Church, discussed the fate of activist James Balao when he testified on March 18 before the US House committee on appropriations’ subcommittee on state and foreign operations.

Workers-rights advocates push state for no-sweat guarantee

WLSU Wisconsin Public Radio

(STATEWIDE) The Doyle Administration says it may be getting ready to sign a promise not to buy state uniforms from sweatshops.

Labor groups are urging Governor Doyle to sign an executive order saying Wisconsin will join the Sweat-Free Purchasing Consortium. That means the state would stop using tax dollars to buy products from manufacturers where workers suffer human rights abuses.

Conditions Worsen For Women Workers



BIYAGAMA, Mar 24 (IPS) - Ramani, 26, sits inside her small, dimly-lit boarding house room, cutting vegetables, in this industrial town outside Colombo. She plans to return to her rural village in May to get married.

"Most girls generally work for five years in garment factories and return to their villages to get married,’’ she says.

Thousands of young women, employed in garment factories spread across Sri Lanka, and concentrated in Free Trade Zones (FTZ) in towns like Biyagama, now face an uncertain future due to lowered demand for their products...

Children sue Ala. company in Colombian mine deaths

Associated Press


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The children of three slain Colombian union leaders filed a lawsuit Friday reviving claims that the men's U.S.-based employer was responsible for their killings outside a coal mine eight years ago.

A similar lawsuit filed by the men's union and widows ended with a verdict for mine operator Drummond Co. Inc. in 2007. But the plaintiffs, who want the company pay for their fathers' deaths, now have access to a key witness who couldn't testify in the first trial because he was in prison, their attorneys say.

Cambodia’s Garment Exports Fall as Demand Drops in U.S., Europe


Cambodia’s garment exports are declining as a global recession crimps demand in the U.S. and Europe, cutting into an industry that supports a 10th of the Southeast Asian country’s population.

In January, garment exports plunged 25 percent from a year earlier to $185 million, said Mean Sophea, who heads the Commerce Ministry’s Trade Preferences System Department. Over the past decade, they grew at an average pace of 28 percent per year, according to the World Bank... 

Sweating It Out

Crain's New York Business Insider

Excerpt from article:

A labor and clergy coalition released a report Wednesday that alleges severe violations at eight factories that supply products to the state of New York. Abuses including mandatory pregnancy tests, forced unpaid overtime and verbal harassment were uncovered at factories in countries ranging from China to Honduras to the United States. The Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State is calling on the state to establish a sweatshop-free code of conduct and to disclose all factories that contract with New York suppliers...

Indonesia Policy: Avoiding Past Mistakes

World Politics Review

By Edmund McWilliams

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's recent visit to Jakarta underscores the importance that the Obama administration appears to attach to Asia and to the U.S. relationship with Indonesia. Indeed, a broad-based, mutually beneficial partnership between the United States and Indonesia can and should be one of the foundations of America's 21st century Asia-Pacific strategy.