Blog: July 2009

USTR's Kirk Commits to Labor Enforcement in Trade

Provisions of existing free trade agreements require signatory nations to uphold domestic labor laws and pursue or adhere to international labor norms.  To date, enforcement of these provisions has been carried out largely on a complaint-driven basis. Existing complaint mechanisms have been largely ineffectual due their inaccessibility to foreign workers and the lack of capacity for resource poor organizations and unions to document and file complaints. In addition, complaints take years and years to resolve and workers see little in return for engaging in such processes.

Honduran and International Labor Movement Fights Back Against Military Coup - Lend a Hand!

Editorials in the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times last week called on the Obama Administration to do more to support the return of President Manuel Zelaya.  A resolution opposing the coup in Honduras has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives and needs your support.  Take action today to oppose the coup in Honduras and support Honduran unions who are fighting back.

Victory for Hartmarx Workers: Several thousand union workers won the struggle to save their jobs at the bankrupt Hartmarx Corporation

Hartmarx is the successor company to the famous Hart Schaffner & Marx, which was founded over 120 years ago in Chicago.  The company was first organized in an historic strike of tens of thousands of workers in 1910.  Led by a young Sidney Hillman, they achieved a groundbreaking settlement with the company and would go on to form the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America several years later.

Workers in Ghana and the US unite!

While Obama did not address these issues, they were weighing heavily on the minds of human rights and labor advocates in the US and Ghana leading up to Obama's visit.  A broad range of US and Ghanaian organizations developed a press booklet (available here) before Obama's trip outlining a range of recommendations for improving US policy toward Africa.  Additionally, the Ghana Federation of Labor (GFL) joined with the International Trade Union Confederation in holding a two-day conference in Ghana highlighting violations of worker rights in the US.  The GFL endors


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