In the News

Sweatshop workers and activists challenge Portland to pass "sweatfree" ordinance

Asian Reporter (Portland, OR)

Excerpt from article:

Over 100 human-rights advocates, community leaders, and other activists gathered outside Portland City Hall on February 19 in support of a city ordinance that would end the use of sweatshop labor by city vendors and subcontractors.

Organized by the Portland Sweatfree Campaign, the rally was organized in response to a recent report the campaign released indicating that the City of Portland purchases goods from companies with known connections to sweatshops...


Wal-Mart’s high cost of low prices: Sweatshop workers tell their stories

Pioneer Log (Portland, Oregon)

Beatrice Fuentes was a humble flower cutter in Colombia. Although she did not make a lot of money, she had a reasonable salary and relatively good job security. That was before Dole Food Company, the multinational corporation, bought the 20 largest flower producers in Colombia – essentially monopolizing the Colombian flower market. Now Fuentes is fighting against all odds to ensure fairer employment practices for her co-workers.

Senate Subcommittee Hears Mix of Views On Bill to Ban Import of Sweatshop Products

Daily Report for Executives

By Kevin McGowan

No. 31

Page A-27

ISSN 1523-567X

Regulation & Law

International Trade

A union representative, workers' rights advocates, and two foreign laborers told a Senate trade subcommittee Feb. 14 that legislation (S. 367) that would bar the import or sale of "sweatshop products" in the United States would help curtail a "race to the bottom" in which multinational companies seeking low-cost labor tolerate abusive working conditions in overseas plants.

Sweatshop Roses: The Hidden Price of Saying 'I Love You'

ABC News

Excerpt from article:

Roses are a symbol of romance to many people -- but not to Beatriz Fuentes.

Like many of the roughly 90,000 workers on giant South American flower plantations, Fuentes helps pick most of the roses that will be delivered to Americans this Valentine's Day.

But she says she is paid less than $50 for a six-day week of demanding labor, often under difficult -- some say illegal -- conditions, including contact with dangerous chemicals.... 


China's besieged factories: Activists aim to expose unscrupulous labor practices to shame companies

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

For each 60-hour week he works on an assembly line for Foxconn, a manufacturer of electronics and computer parts in this south China manufacturing hub, he earns $32 and a bunk in a dormitory room with 19 other laborers.

At the factory, managers forbid workers from talking or resting outside of two 10-minute breaks, he said.

Wal-Mart Workers Speak Out

Bend Weekly News Source

Excerpt from article:

“Our Community First” updates residents on local opposition to a proposed Bend Wal-Mart SuperCenter, Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.

Wal-Mart workers from three countries will speak out on what they believe is “the high cost of low prices” -- and Ann Wheeler, a local community activist, will provide an update on local opposition to a proposed Wal-Mart SuperCenter in Bend.

Valentine’s Day: Labor Conditions at US-Owned Plantations Show Hidden Realities of Flower Industry

Democracy Now

Today is Valentine's Day. Chocolate, flowers, diamonds. How can gifts that bring so much happiness have come from so much pain? We begin our coverage with a look at the flower industry. Nora Ferm of the International Labor Rights Fund talks about a new report on labor conditions at US-owned flower plantations in Colombia and Ecuador. We’re also joined by Beatriz Fuentes, President of the Sintrasplendor Union at Dole’s largest flower plantation in Colombia which has become the site of a growing worker’s struggle...

Valentine lovers urged to eye ethical cocoa

Scotsman (UK)

Excerpt from article: 

"Consumers associate chocolate with pleasure and indulgence, and that stands in very stark contrast to situations facing workers and the children who are harvesting that cocoa that they are enjoying," said Tim Newman of the International Labor Rights Fund

Cocoa is chocolate's key ingredient, and Newman said consumers' heightened awareness of child labor in the West African cocoa belt in the past few years has played a vital role in the establishment of company programs designed to improve working conditions there.