Blog: July 2010

Nike to Pay $1.54 million to workers laid off in Honduras

The Workers Rights Consortium released a report indicating how the subcontractors owed around $2 million to workers in indemnification and sent it to different universities to make them aware of the situation. United Students Against Sweatshops held protests and created a strong public awareness campaign with the slogan “Just Pay It”. Students urged their universities to end contracts with Nike if it refused to compensate workers.

Justice for Reynolds Tobacco Field Workers

For example, the Campaign’s most recent win, involved (now ex) Reynolds board member Betsy Atkins, who also sits on the board of Chicos FAS, Inc., an upscale women’s clothing company. FLOC mobilized supporters nationwide to communicate with Betsy Atkins to use her position to change Reynolds policy of ignoring human rights abuses in its supply chain. After she refused to respond, the labor union began contacting Chico’s directly, to inform them about the company their board member was keeping. After a few months of fax-in days, phone calls, and store visits, asking Chico’s to use its influence with Ms. Atkins to influence her and Reynolds to do the right thing, the company gave Ms.

The Day FIFA Lost its Soul: A Shameful Bait and Switch

Those few industries where child labor continues are concentrated in agriculture (especially cotton and cocoa), mining and small-scale weaving/sewing operations.  This latter area is where the world’s football teams got the shock of their collective lives fifteen years ago.  At the moment of most intense anti-sweatshop activism in the West – 1996 - soccer ball production was exposed as a pre-teens-in-penury cesspool; expensive, hand-stitched balls for export and bearing the world federation of football clubs’ “certified for match play” stamp of approval.

Charts, Marketing 101, and the Colombian FTA: These Aren’t Just Numbers

Well… maybe not quite yet.  Statistics need to be taken with a grain of salt.  Anyone with Marketing 101 under their belt can probably do a halfway decent job of using a set of numbers and graphs to manipulate the feelings of their general audience without ever coming close to an actual lie.  Now, I’ve never taken that course, so you can trust me if you like – but I suggest that you play with the numbers and see for yourself.  The above chart is the only way I can think of to manipulate the numbers into speaking “positively” of Colombia’s trade unionist assassination rate. 

Vital Workers’ Organization Stripped of Legal Status, Staff Member Detained and Beaten by Police

This crackdown on BCWS’s important work to organize and support workers
will send a clear, chilling message to  unions and other organizations
that dare to speak out in defense of workers in Bangladesh.  We need
your support now to fight back and show our solidarity with BCWS and the
workers of Bangladesh.

Please send a letter today to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh insisting that BCWS’s legal status be reinstated and
that all harassment of BCWS cease immediately.

Demand the Release of Journalists Who Exposed Corruption in the Cocoa Industry

The three Ivorian journalists have been held in jail and could face any where from one to five years in prison as well as a fine for their work to expose corruption.  At least one of the journalists, Oula, is on hunger strike.  Other journalists and rights activists have been protesting all week in Ivory Coast.  Today, reporters marched through the capital of Abidjan and faced police repression and tear gas as they held a sit-in at the Justice Department.

“Riegel Deceits, Exploits, Steals and Lays Off Workers”: Temporary workers in the Colombian Cut-Flower Sector on Strike

According to the workers on strike, the workers at Riegel have not been paid their social security for the past 11 months, in spite of the amount for social security being deducted from their wages. Event though the company paid part of the wages owed in response to the first week of the strike, many other workers have not received any compensation, including the workers leading the resistance. Workers are also owed their family subsidies and were not given their uniforms and appropriate working attire during their time at Riegel. Magdalena Toscano has worked for two CTAs. Under a plastic man-made shack put up by the strikers, she tells me in her previous job she worked for five months and was never paid.

Do you really want to “Take Our Jobs”? A Farmworker Reality

Nonetheless, those not inclined to give undocumented workers legal residence have an opportunity to stop this. Citizens and residents interested in taking over an immigrant farm worker’s job are encouraged to apply at and will be guided by experienced farm workers on how to complete their new job successfully.  In addition, the UFW will have monthly updates on the progress of the campaign.

Big Step Forward for Sweatfree DC; DC Councilmember Mary Cheh Shows Support!

Over the past year, ILRF, SEIU 32BJ, LiUNA, Carpenters Union and many others have been working to get the DC City Council to adopt responsible contracting language as part of the procurement overhaul that is moving through the legislative process.  In particular there have been conversations focused on DC govt adopting a “sweatfree” procurement policy and joining the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium. This is vital because it ensures that all DC contracts and vendors, and subsequently workers who are paid with DC tax dollars, are to be done under fair labor conditions.

Ratification of the CEDAW Treaty: Pressure the Obama Administration to Uphold its Commitment to Women’s Rights

CEDAW will positively impact women’s economic conditions that result from gender discrimination. The treaty commits countries ‘to incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women’.

Ratification not only sends a strong political message, but it also recognizes women’s right to have decent work and equal opportunities to access the job market. CEDAW not only addresses discrimination relating to women’s unemployment, the treaty aims to end sexual harassment and to close the income gap between men and women within the workplace.


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