Blog: January 2010

Chocolate Updates! Green & Black's and Ashlee Simpson

It's also interesting to note that Green & Black's is owned by Cadbury and it seems almost certain at this point that Kraft will be taking over Cadbury very soon.  Many people have been concerned about what will happen to Cadbury's Fair Trade cocoa sourcing once the deal goes through because Kraft does not have the same level of commitment to Fair Trade Certified cocoa.  However, Kraft has stated that they expect to honor Cadbury's practices.  We hope that Green & Black's, as well as Cadbury, will be able to maintain -- and increase -- their investment in Fair

Firestone is Listening -- Keep up the action!

It's clear that Firestone is paying close attention to your messages!  However, they clearly refuse to respond to the specific issue of how their workers are forced to carry heavy loads in order to enrich the company.  This system of work is unacceptable and needs to end.  We must keep up our actions to show solidarity with workers in Liberia.  We've come so far in this campaign already, but we need to take this next important step forward.

Time for Bridgestone/Firestone to Play Fair!

In 2010, stepping onto Firestone's rubber plantation in Liberia is like being transported back centuries.  The majority of workers on the plantation are "rubber tappers" who collect raw latex from the rubber trees and pour them into buckets that weigh 75 pounds each.  The tappers carry two of the heavy buckets on each end of a stick on their backs for miles to a collection point where they are weighed and recorded to ensure that each rubber tapper meets his or her daily production quota.  It is tragically ironic that a company that produces tires refuses to provide trucks for workers to transport the heavy buckets of latex.  This type of work system is completely outdated and has been upgraded on most rubber plantations globally, for example in other major rubber-producing countries li

Broken Hearts: Abusive Child Labor Continues in the Chocolate Industry

After several missed deadlines, the chocolate industry finally developed  its so-called "certification" system, which are surveys of labor conditions on cocoa farms conducted by the governments of Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire.  The "certification" program does not contain any standards for labor rights protections and has been critiqued by observers for a range of other problems.   As part of the system, the certification reports produced by the governments of Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire must then be verified to ensure that the data is accurate.

Good news for Nestlé workers

Nestlé workers in India faced a number of intimidation tactics when they tried to form unions.  For example, the company got a court injunction permanently banning union activity around factories.  Workers held weekly demonstrations, organized rallies at Nestlé headquarters, refused to work overtime and took many other actions.  International solidarity also helped support the workers' campaign.

Milwaukee police uniform contract finally awarded; the work to protect the workers who make them begins now

It is tough to see U.S. union workers passed over for a million dollar contract especially in a time of economic downturn. But, the Milwaukee ordinance does not call for U.S.-made uniforms. Instead, the city takes a longer-term and broader view by requiring workers everywhere to get a good deal—including wages that will raise them and their family out of poverty—if they make products for the city. The city’s goal is less to strengthen the local economy or the U.S. economy in the short-term than to help create a more fair global economy, which, long-term, also helps U.S. workers.

Do You Know Who Made Your Guitar?

For the past three years, Korean guitar workers and their supporters have been protesting the closure of these factories which left 123 workers without a job.  Workers are asking for these factories to be reopened under more just conditions.  Even the Korean courts ruled in favor of the workers on this one. For many of these guitar workers, making guitars is not just a job- it is also their art.  For some, it is what they have been doing their entire lives.

Olympic Skiers Aren't the Only Ones in a Race to the Bottom

One of the great aspects of this new initiative is that the organizations involved have identified proactive steps companies can take to improve worker rights in their supply chains.  The recommendations cover four key areas:

   1. Develop a positive climate for freedom of association and collective bargaining;
   2. Eliminate the use of precarious employment in sportswear supply chains;
   3. Lessen both the frequency and negative impacts of factory closures; and
   4. Take steps to improve worker incomes, with the goal of reaching a living wage for all workers.

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