Blog: August 2011

Student Guestworkers Stand up for their Rights and Call for Justice at Hershey

The students were promised that they would easily earn back the money they paid for the program, but much of their wages are taken by CETUSA in the form of housing fees. The students allege that they are charged above market rate for their housing. The students take home just $40 a week after CETUSA’s fees and deductions and many expect that they will not make any money by the end of the summer. 

Globalization and the US Construction Industry

According to the US International Trade Commission (USITC), China is the leading exporter of construction-related material to the United States.  China’s record on human rights is widely known to be unacceptable, yet every day US construction workers use Chinese-made fasteners to install Chinese-made plumbing and electrical fixtures and other products.  They use Chinese-made rigging equipment to raise machinery made in Thailand or Mexico, other countries with lax labor standards relative to North America.  Many of these products are made under the auspices of US manufacturers who have made direct investments in the economies of the Global South. 

Labor Groups Rally to Oppose the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

The police van bearing their arrested comrades drove away while the rest of the demonstrators talked about future actions.  It was a hot day and a good day.

On June 10 Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos signed into law legislation intended to compensate Colombian citizens victimized by the military – and paramilitary - campaign against the rebel FARC organization.  This new law, opposed by Santos’s predecessor Alvaro Uribe, has been seen as an attempt to overcome US congressional opposition to the free trade pact.  On June 2, Daniel Wilkinson referenced the new “Victims Law” in the New York Review of Books, giving the final assessment:

Solidarity with Striking Verizon Workers

Verizon is asking workers to give up two holidays; including Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The company is also wants to get rid of mandatory overtime restrictions and restrictions on the amount of work it can subcontract to outside employers.

Conceeding to these demands threaten to erase the gains of 50 years of bargaining by the CWA. The strikers need your help! 

People all over the country are showing their support by joining picket lines, signing petitions, sending letters to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam, and calling Verizon’s headquarters urging the company to negotiate and provide its workers with middle class wages and benefits and safe working conditions.  

Tell the World Health Organization to Call Action to Labor Rights Abuses in Tobacco

Tenant families are given small plots of land by large tobacco estates in exchange for producing a certain amount of tobacco every year. In addition to forcing tenants to turn over a large portion of their harvest as rent, they also charge for seeds and fertilizer. Many tenant farmers do not make enough to buy food; tenant children, some as young as 7, are forced to work beside their parents or as day laborers on other plots. They are subjected to hazardous manual labor, physical strain, dangerous environments, and long hours. The children are charged with strenuous tasks such as clearing the land, building tobacco drying sheds, weeding and plucking tobacco.

Search form