Blog: December 2009

Nestlé and the Cynical Use of Certification; “Fair Trade” for Some Tiny Percentage Gives Reputational Boost

By Jeff Ballinger

Do we debate Fairtrade (Ft) labeling and marketing in the U.S.?  No, not so much – at least not compared to Britain, where it is something of a blood sport (some links below).  It may be somewhat unfair to lump Ft in with Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), but that’s the direction in which I’m presently leaning – especially since I started researching issues related to TransFair USA’s imminent launch of a pilot factory standard for clothes

More anti-worker Scrooges!

The Chamber has stiff competition this year from Bank of America, Hyatt Hotels, Publix Supermarkets, and Sallie Mae and Citibank.  The policies promoted by the Chamber have led to high unemployment and people working harder and for longer hours as a recent JWJ and Institute for Policy Studies report shows.

Bloggers and Twitizens: Fund anti-sweatshop organizing by shrinking your urls with

By Liana Foxvog, National Organizer, SweatFree Communities

Thanks to a nifty new tool from 3BL Media, you can now generate funds to support non-profits while shrinking urls with a simple click at

Until January 31st, each time you use, 3BL Media will contribute 1 cent to be split equally among three non-profit beneficiaries, including SweatFree Communities.

When you need those lengthy urls shortened for posting on twitter or on your blog/website, please remember!

Climate Change, Copenhagen, and Workers

In a report released by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), the long-term effect of weather related changes caused by climate change has the potential to greatly impact employment.  The impacts on employment, reported by UNEP, are likely to arise “from extreme weather events such as droughts, cyclones and/or floods.  They will also arise from slower processes such as sea level rise.”  Major weather events, caused by climate change, carry with them the potential to cause damage and disrupt transportation lines and industrial infrastructure impact not only workers ability to be present at work, but also lead to the closin

Working for Scrooge: Worst Companies of 2009 for the Right to Associate

Our report this year highlights Dole (with violations in Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and the Philippines), Kohl's (with violations in Nicaragua and Turkey), Kraft (with violations in Argentina, China, Honduras and the United Kingdom) and Nestlé (with violations in Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia and Tunisia).

Report Exposes Poor Working Conditions at Government Contractors; New York State to Reign in Sweatshop Suppliers

Governor Paterson said: “I believe that the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium will serve as a crucial tool in creating and maintaining standards of workplace fairness and safety in our global economy.”

Bjorn Claeson, Executive Director of SweatFree Communities, said: “Labor rights violations are human rights violations. Today, International Human Rights Day, we call on all government agencies, including the federal government, to join with New York and the other pioneering members of the Consortium in ensuring labor rights for workers who manufacture goods purchased with our tax dollars.”

Norfolk, VA Fair Trade Festival Spreads Awareness about Sweatfree Campaigns

Besides heightening awareness about sweatshops and child labor in general, Trina and I were gaining supporters for the Norfolk sweatfree campaign.  The Friday preceding the festival, December 4th, Trina and I met with the Sacred Heart Catholic Church globalization community, a local Norfolk region faith based group interested in learning more about the social justice issues that sweatshops raise and more importantly, what concrete actions they could take as individuals and a community to both raise awareness and effect change.  We expected to be addressing a group that knew little about the global problems that lead to the use of Sweatshop labor but instead what we found was a well informed group of highly active ind


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