Blog: March 2009

The G20 Summit and Unions

You can read the full document online here.  The introduction to the declaration states,

Workers around the world, who are losing their jobs and their homes, are the innocent victims of this crisis: a crisis precipitated by greed and incompetence in the financial sector, but which is underpinned by the policies of privatisation, liberalisation and labour market deregulation of recent decades. The effects of these policies – stagnating wages, cuts in social protection, erosion of workers’ rights, increased precarious work, and financialisation – have combined to increase inequality and vulnerability...

The Abuse of the Peruvian Women in the Asparagus Industry

In Peru, more than 70 percent of the asparagus fields’ workers are women, and the majority of these are between 18 and 25 years of age (Amat 2006; Jara 2007). What was previously mentioned seems to portray that the Peruvian market of asparagus pleasingly wishes to open its doors to women, offering them opportunities with ‘never-ending’ possibilities. At the same time, the Peruvian asparagus industry discloses that it feels forced to provide `quality, innocuity and security' in its products.

Sometimes, all it takes is one person wanting to do the right thing

  • 65-79 hour work weeks
  • Forced to live in poverty because they’re underpaid
  • Prohibited from drinking water during the work shifts
  • Little or no breaks during the work day
  • Sexual harassment
  • Verbal and Physical abuse
  • Fired if you’re pregnant or refuse to use birth control

“We would have no complaints if we at least got better pay. We are even ready to accept all kinds of punishment, but we just want fair and better pay – at least the pay that we deserve.”
Anika, Helper at JMS Garments (Bangladesh), paid $20 a month

Tales of a Union Organizer: Why we need EFCA now!

I started the organizing drive from scratch with few worker contacts within the facility
and no “neutrality agreement.” In a neutrality agreement, a company agrees to
actually abide by the law and not interfere with an organizing drive. In other
words, they’re not allowed to fire workers for organizing, convince workers that
they don’t need a union, etc. In exchange, the union agrees to keep their
campaign quiet, not engage the public, the media, outside groups, and the
companies’ clients in the campaign. Companies usually only agree to remain
neutral when they see a real threat to their brand image, face considerable

My First Time at a Rally (and doing a workshop)

It was now time for me to begin my workshop. As the students walking into the assigned classroom where my workshop would take place, I thought to myself “Oh my god. These students can’t possibly be in high school.” I felt so intimidated and now I wasn’t really sure if I could successfully perform this workshop. As the students sat down I told myself, “ok Adriane you can do this. You are prepared for this, your good.” Once I started, everything I had just told myself went right out the window. I started to get really nervous and I couldn’t remember to say certain things or what to do. I felt really disorganized and disorientated.

Labor Rights are Women's Rights

Walmart once again made the news this week for labor violations in it’s stores, this time in Mexico, and for illegal hiring practices.  Women represent 42 percent of the workforce in Mexico, and only 43 percent of those women enjoy any type of protection of their labor rights, such as membership in a union.  An investigation of working conditions in the largest Walmart stores in Mexico by the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Project found that women are still much more vulnerable to harassment, lower wages, and unfair firings than men.  Although illegal in Mexico, many women reported being as


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