In the News

Bush Heads to Colombia as Scandal Taints Alliance

New York Times

Soldiers in Bogotá, Colombia’s capital on Saturday. President Bush was expected to arrive for a brief visit during his Latin American trip.

By Simon Romero

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — The Bush administration has no closer ally in South America than Colombia, the recipient of more than $4 billion in American aid this decade to combat drug trafficking and guerrilla insurgencies. But a widening scandal tying paramilitary death squads and drug traffickers to close supporters of President Álvaro Uribe is clouding President Bush’s brief visit here on Sunday.

Union Organizing Can Be Deadly in Colombia

Associated Press

By Sergio De Leon

BOGOTA, Colombia -- More than 800 trade unionists have been killed in Colombia over the past six years, by government count, yet the number of those murders solved can be counted on one hand.

Union organizing can be a deadly activity anywhere but is particularly dangerous in Colombia, where decades of political violence and lawlessness compel some unscrupulous employers to hire assassins.

Stricter Law Fails to Diminish the Demand for Child Laborers in India

New York Times

By Amelia Gentleman

CALCUTTA, India — Seven days a week, 8-year-old Jasmina K. rises before dawn to fetch water for the household where she works as a maid. She washes, sweeps and hauls until about 11 at night, when she lies down to sleep on the floor by the bathroom door.

Her employers have little patience with her exhaustion.

Fair Trade Opens New Opportunities for Garment Sector

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)

Sri Lanka’s garment sector is linking up with the global Fair Trade movement. Already one company, Ocean Lanka, has qualified as a Fair Trade manufacturer while other firms are also giving this hitherto, almost-unknown concept the once over.

The Fair Trade movement is a global social movement to promote ‘fair’ international trade. This means producing and selling goods in a socially and environmentally friendly fashion. In Europe and the US the movement is gaining momentum with more consumers in these countries asking for Fair Trade goods...

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.