Blog: August 2010

Last Chance for Fair Trade S’mores!

Hershey is a popular name in the chocolate world, however it is important to know where your chocolate is coming from, and this is something that Hershey has failed to guarantee. While Hershey committed to stopping the use of cocoa tainted by labor abuses in its supply chain in 2001, real results have yet to be seen.  Other competitors of Hershey have been more productive in creating transparency in their cocoa supply chain and implementing tracing systems so that they know fromwhere their cocoa is coming.  Furthermore, an article by Nancy Cleeland articulates how Hershey has gone so far as to outsource its chocolate production to other U.S.

Rally for Justice for Bangladesh Workers

Workers in the Bangladesh garment industry are paid 20 cents an hour and often face hazardous working conditions that have lead to the death of several workers.  Recently the government-appointed wage board raised the minimum wage for Bangladesh workers in the garment industry to $43 USD a month. Some labor unions accepted this while others were not satisfied because they had originally called for a wage of $72 USD a month. As a result, disappointed labor unions organized protests in Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, to voice their discontent. Prices for goods are on the rise and the pitiful wages they earn is not enough to live decently. Unfortunately, the protests turned violent and the police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.

Labor activists in Bangladesh arrested

Despite the recent wage increase of US$42 (3000 taka) per month, up from less than $1 per day, workers have been demanding at least US$72 (5000 taka) per month to simply meet the rising cost of living in these urban areas. Factories in Bangladesh supply garments for retailers such as Wal-Mart, Gap, H&M, Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Sears, some of the world’s most recognized brands, yet workers in Bangladesh make less than their counterparts around the world.

Regional Day of Action against Labor Flexibility!

With regard to labor flexibility practices, workers don’t really have a choice; either they work without benefits or not work at all. If labor flexibilization continues, Central Americans would be forced to work with labor violations and without benefits or not work at all. The Regional Campaign against Labor Flexibility composed of labor organizations in Panama, Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua have been fighting for labor rights in their countries in the form of a Regional Coalition for five years, with  many more years advocating at a national level in their respective countries.

Ramadan Brings No Peace for Vulnerable Domestic Workers

No country in the world has formulated adequate schemes to respond to the abuse that occurs in the home toward domestic workers, but it is especially necessary to formulate laws and systems for the protection of domestic workers in countries with high levels of young migrant domestic workers.  According to the Committee for Asian Women, in their report Decent Work Deficits: The situation of domestic workers in India, Indonesia, Nepal, and the Philippines, it is estimated that there are 100,000 women domestic workers from India alone in the Middle East.  According to the Kuwaiti Times, “Each Kuwaiti home has an average of two to three maids, in addition to chauffeurs and cooks, but for Ram

United Steelworkers and Los Mineros Unite in a Joint Commission to Pursue Organizing Rights

The United Steelworkers (USW) share a common vision to promote fair labor rights with Los Mineros and have been supporting their strike over the years. “We call on the U.S. Congress to halt delivery of all funding to Mexican security forces so long as they are used to attack workers who are exercising their freedom of association,” Gerard declared. “Our American union members’ tax dollars can not be used to support a union busting government in Mexico.” USW and Los Mineros strengthened their alliance on June 21 in Toronto when they signed an agreement for a joint commission to create a union that represents 1 million workers in Mexico, the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.

Evaluating Strategies for Combating Child Labor in India

My project has been largely focused on evaluating the newest initiative implemented by the International Labor Organization’s International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (ILO-IPEC) and funded by the United States Department of Labor called “Converging Against Child Labor”.  The project’s backbone is a poverty alleviation strategy.  It focuses on bringing welfare support to families so that they can improve their livelihood and children will no longer be compelled to bring in financial contributions in lieu of attending school.  I attended the government school teachers’ conference to gain a better understanding from the perspective of teachers, and the overwhelming response echoed

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