In the News

Colombian Union Fights for Flower Farm

Associated Press
10/18/2006

By Joshua Goodman

FACATATIVA, Colombia -- When workers at Colombia's largest flower grower organized themselves into a union a few years ago, they won protections against overly long hours, potentially dangerous exposure to pesticides and other abuses.

But in an increasingly globalized economy, the effort may also have cost the employees of Dole Food Co.'s flower division their jobs.

Last week, Estela Yepes was on her way out of work at the Splendor-Corzo flower farm outside of Bogota, the Colombian capital, when she was handed a one-page letter.

Group Accuses Jordan of Failing to Enforce Labor Rights

Los Angeles Times
10/17/2006

By Evelyn Iritani

For more than a year, the Bangladeshi garment workers toiled as long as 16 hours a day at a factory in Jordan's free trade zone, sewing women's apparel for companies including J.C. Penney Co. and Target Corp.

They received less than 50 cents an hour for working as many as 100 hours a week, labor activists said. Last spring, 175 workers walked out of the Atateks garment factory in Al Tajamouat Industrial City in Sahab, Jordan, at the end of an eight-hour shift after their request for more money and better working conditions was refused.

Unions in Three Nations to File NAFTA Labor Violations Charges Against U.S.

Workers Independent News
10/16/2006

By Doug Cunningham

On Tuesday more than two dozen U.S., Canadian and Mexican labor organizations will file a charge against the U.S. and North Carolina under labor provisions of NAFTA. The accusation is that 650,000 public employees in North Carolina are being denied the right to collectively bargain. Dan Kovalik, Associate General Counsel of the United Steelworkers.

Demand Dignity for Firestone Workers in Liberia

Indianapolis Star
10/16/2006

Firestone's policies in Liberia deserve censure, not praise ("Firestone, African nation need each other," Russ Pulliam column, Oct. 8). Workers at Firestone's rubber plantation are forced to bring their children to work for 12 to 14 hours a day to meet very high production quotas. Child labor, while illegal under international, Liberian and U.S. labor law, has been confirmed by the United Nations and even acknowledged by Firestone. The houses Firestone touts as examples of their generosity are decrepit shacks without running water or indoor toilets.

Wal-Mart responds to allegations

Tallahassee Democrat
10/15/2006

By Billy Bruce

Wal-Mart officials said allegations that the company condones the inhumane treatment of workers and turns a blind eye to abusive actions by factory operators in foreign nations are not true.

Three workers from China, Colombia and Swaziland made the allegations Friday when they spoke to a small group of FSU students at the Williams Building on campus in a program sponsored, in part, by the FSU Center for Participant Education FSU and the Florida AFL-CIO.

Dole will close operations at Splendor el Corzo

Untraflores Statement
10/13/2006

Yesterday, October 12, 2006, the president of Dole Fresh Flowers announced that the company will be firing over 3,500 workers; that Dole will close operations at Splendor el Corzo, its largest plantation, as well as the Porcelain Flowers plant and Dole’s plantations in Ecuador. Not only will Dole be reducing its workforce on the floor, but it will also be cutting jobs in both administration and sales. John Amaya, president of Dole Food, claims that international competition has caused prices to fall and demands an increase in production of Dole’s products.

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