Berkeley, CA says: Stop Firestone!

Here are some responses to the Berkeley City Council resolution:

Commissioner Diana Bohn said, “I’m proud to serve in a City like Berkeley that acts locally and thinks
globally, and we hope to see other cities follow suit. This resolution has the potential for
helping Firestone finally realize it is in their interest to negotiate a fair
contract with their rubber workers."

Nunu Kidane of the Bay-Area based Priority Africa
said, “Plantation is the operative word in
Bridgestone’s exploitation of Liberian workers, it is modern day slavery with
pay of about $3 for some 21 hours worth of work, including child labor.

Fashioning an Ethical Industry

Over the last year FEI has
facilitated student workshops in universities across the UK with
students from a variety of year groups and a range of different fashion courses
(design, buying, marketing, business and textiles). The impact of purchasing
practices – the way in which fashion companies do business with their suppliers
– on working conditions in the garment industry has been the focus of these
workshops. A role-play, the first in a series of
resources aimed specifically at fashion-related higher and further education

Educating Apparel Industry Professionals

The courses include the following:

Apparel Consumers
and Social Responsibility
Examines the role of consumers in improving working
conditions, labor standards, and environmental stewardship in apparel factories
worldwide. Factors and groups motivating consumer action are explored, including
the influence of personal characteristics, market opportunities, and activist
and other pressure groups.

Victory at 3 Garment Factories

Russell Athletic's factory in Honduras

Between March and September 2007, the Jerzees Choloma and Jerzees de
Honduras apparel assembly companies fired 118 employees who had tried
to form a union.  The largest number of dismissals at Jerzees Choloma
took place between June 7-14, immediately after the union submitted its
membership list to the company.  The dismissals at Jerzees de Honduras
took place between June 10-25, immediately after the workers at that
facility notified the company the union’s formation.

Success for Women Workers in South Africa

In 2007, this
research culminated in the publication of a report - Sexual Harassment: Is it Really a Problem on Farms? Report of a fact-finding survey of farm workers conducted in 2006  - which concluded that, when compared to their male counterparts, women farm workers occupy subordinate positions because of their gender, and are more likely than men to be hired as seasonal contract workers. The study found that sexual harassment - ranging from offensive remarks to sexual assault or rape - was widespread, particularly amongst younger women and girls. There are currently no policies being implemented to address these egregious rights abuses.

Women, Labor and Leadership Curriculum Success

One participant says,

This project has helped us learn to value ourselves
as women, We have been able to use this information to integrate ourselves in
the leadership structures of our unions…We have acquired knowledge that allows
us to face and solve a diversity of problems in our work, in our families, and
in our unions and organizations.

The next step of this process is to create the space to allow union women to not only use the curriculum to enhance their skills but also to strategize and support each other to truly create a movement for women’s economic rights throughout Central America.

MLK and labor rights -- Support New Era Workers

While growing up in the suburbs of Detroit, it is unfortunate that topics of race, class and labor weren't addressed in my predominantly white schools.  I
think the first time I had MLK Day off was in college.  College was
where I received my foundation on progressive ideals.  I'll never
forget marching throughout the city of Kalamazoo while in college for
my first MLK parade.  Then I had the opportunity to learn about the
sanitation workers strike in Memphis as the context to why MLK had
decided to visit Memphis.  If you aren't familiar with this labor
struggle, be sure to watch "At the River I Stand."


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