Blog: June 2010

No more money for asbestos: protestors call for an end to Canada’s deadly export

The latest development concerning the toxic mineral is that of the Québec government setting aside a $58 million subsidy to keep one of Canada’s last remaining asbestos mines stay in business. Jeffrey Mine, Inc., located in Asbestos, Québec (yes, that’s the city’s actual name), is currently under bankruptcy protection as it awaits the loan that would allow a new underground asbestos mine to be built and in turn, enable the exportation of nearly 200,000 tons of asbestos a year to developing countries for the next 25 years. The loan is expected to be approved by July 1.

Invisible Workers: The Domestic Workers' Struggle

Abuses of domestic workers’ labor rights are common. In the United States, for example, 93% of domestic workers are women, many who suffer from physical, verbal and sexual abuse. Because many domestic workers are not given permanent or contract work, they are unable to exercise their right to freedom of association and the benefits bargained for by trade unions through collective bargaining, such as a living wage, eight-hour workdays, and pensions among other benefits. The new draft instrument by the ILO, if ratified by countries, will change the way domestic work is understood within labor law.

On the One-Year Anniversary of the Coup, Honduran Social Movement Announces General Strike

The coup in Honduras was the first in Central America in more than two decades. Initially international reaction was universally negative and no foreign government recognized the new president. "The United States condemned the removal of the democratically-elected president, Manuel Zelaya, as a coup d'etat; however President Obama has not denounced the illegal elections that happened a few months later," said Gutierrez. In fact, the United States has just announced $75 million dollars in funds to help Honduras enhance its security; security forces are routinely used to restrict freedom of expression, including the nonviolent protests of the FNRP.

Colombia-US FTA: 100 more years of solitude for the working class?

Ratification should go beyond meeting these conditions. Less people are joining trade unions than they were before Uribe’s administration, fewer trade unions are being allowed to form, legislation has changed labor laws and conditions, and informal work has increased. These are symptomatic of a prevalent anti-unionist climate. The impact the FTA would have in trade unionism should not be exclusively measured by violence against trade unionists but should take into account the impact of said violence, namely the dangers in defending workers rights and the erosion of the right of freedom of association. 

Incredible Bravery, Relentless Oppression: 2010 ITUC Annual Survey of Workers Rights

Summing up the report ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder said “This year’s ITUC survey shows that the majority of the world’s workers still lack effective protection of their rights to organise trade unions and bargain collectively. This is a major factor in the long-term increase in economic inequality within and between countries. Inadequate incomes for much of the world’s workforce helped cause the global economic crisis, and is making it much harder to put the economy on a path of sustainable growth.”

The Dark Side of Chocolate: Child Labor and Trafficking in the International Chocolate Industry

Later, the crew visited Ali Lakiss, CEO of Saf-Cacao, Ivory Coast’s largest domestically owned cocoa exporter. It was bitterly ironic to see how Mr. Lakiss so confidently claimed of there being no slavery or trafficking in the Ivory Coast’s cocoa plantations as undercover footage was shown of a group of young boys cutting down cocoa pods with machetes in a nearby plantation. Like many children forced into labor, these kids did not attend school, could not speak the local language and admitted to being beaten by the plantation owners if not working hard enough. Even more disturbing was how such children are seen as profitable purchases; where for a mere 230 pounds, plantation owners could cover the cost for transport of a child and inherit an indefinite time of labor.


Search form