In the News

W&K Steel rejects peace offering

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Owners of a Rankin metal fabricating plant rejected a peace offering by the Allegheny County councilman who accused them of running a "sweatshop."

Shortly before announcing he wouldn't try to overturn County Executive Dan Onorato's veto of a bill designating W&K Steel a sweatshop, council President Rich Fitzgerald called the owners, Ed and Celeste Wilhelm.

Council passed the bill Tuesday. Onorato vetoed it Friday...

Anti-sweatshop bill vetoed by Onorato

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato vetoed a piece of legislation Friday passed by county council earlier this week that declared W&K Steel in Rankin a "sweatshop."

The legislation, passed Tuesday with the support of all seven of the council's Democratic members, would have made the company ineligible for county contracts. The four Republican council members abstained...

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Vowed veto of 'sweatshop' to stand

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Excerpt from article:
Two days after declaring a Rankin factory a "sweatshop," Allegheny County Council Democrats announced they were backing down in the face of County Executive Dan Onorato's threatened veto.
Council's declaration barred the county from doing business with W&K Steel LLC and touched off criticism from people who said Democratic leaders pushed the bill through to please unions. W&K owners deny they're running a sweatshop and said they're considering legal action.

Women’s empowerment and state repression

If women’s empowerment is a progressive mainstream agenda, then why are the struggles of women garment workers for living wages and safe and secure working conditions not solidly a part of larger progressive movements being waged in Bangladesh? Movements which struggle to democratise state and society, to re-construct gender relations on equitable lines.

It is a question that is not only worth raising, it is urgent that we raise it, that we seek answers to it.

Open Letter from ILRF’s Newly Appointed Executive Director


Dear ILRF Colleagues,

Democracy, Social Justice, Human Development.  These core principles that move progressive politics are all direct outcomes of labor rights: living wages, non-discrimination, safe workplaces, and, most importantly, the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining.  No justice without fair pay, no development without rising incomes, and no democracy without participation in corporate decision-making. 

Dozens Killed in Bangladesh Fire

New York Times

DHAKA, Bangladesh — A fire at a garment factory north of Dhaka, the capital, killed at least 20 people and injured dozens on Tuesday, in the latest blow to the country’s largest industry.

The fire at a 10-story factory in the Ashulia industrial area, about 16 miles from the capital, started on the ninth floor around lunchtime, when most of the workers were outside. Local reporters who had canvassed hospitals said at least 24 people had been killed. Factory officials said they knew of about 20 deaths....

Dockworkers march for Del Monte boycott

Workers World

Led by the 3-year-old daughter of a laid-off longshore worker whose sign read “Del Monte ruined my Christmas,” more than 400 dockworkers and community and labor allies marched in the busy noontime streets around City Hall here on Nov. 22. They were protesting the layoffs of more than 200 members of the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1291 due to the decision by Fresh Del Monte Products to dock its incoming ships at a below-union-wage pier in Gloucester City, N.J.

U. City adopts resolution against sweat shops

St. Louis Today

UNIVERSITY CITY-- This city has become the first in the state to pledge that it will not purchase apparel manufactured under sweatshop conditions.

It joins a growing movement of about 180 governments, schools and other jurisdictions to adopt a policy against buying from manufacturers that violate basic humane and labor standards.

"This is simply a commitment by University City to be an educated buyer of clothing," said Jim Adams, one of a group of residents who asked the city to take action.