Free Trade Agreement Equals More Trade, Right?

This does not mean that free trade agreements don’t equal
increased U.S. exports,  but that increased trade can happen with or without them, and they may
not be as significant of a determining factor as one may think.

Ultimately, this realization may not mean much to the free
trade debate. While it challenges an
underlying assumption about the trade system and exposes a major flaw in the
Bush administration rhetoric about the agreements, this is not the first or
most important flaw that has been exposed.

Time to cotton on

Agriculture, which is accountable, incredibly, for some 170 million child
laborers, is classed by the International Labor Organization as one of the
three most dangerous sectors in the world in which to work. In almost every
continent - across swathes of Asia, extending into Europe, and in pockets of
Latin America and Africa - children, many of them under 10, are out of school
in all-weather conditions, exposed to dangerous pesticides and other health
risks. Because agriculture tends to be less regulated than other industries,
child laborers have little access to legal mechanisms.

Which Companies are Naughty vs. Nice?

Eagle Outfitters: AKA “American Vulture”
disrespect – no raises – no voice on the job

Eagle Outfitters says it cares about workers; its Code of Conduct
requires contractors to respect the right of employees to form a
union.  Yet, according to workers in Canada, workers at the warehouse
contracted to ship AEO clothing across Canada faced harassment and
intimidation when they tried to improve conditions by forming a

Turnabout is Fair Trade for Christmas Catalogs

In September, the Center for a New American Dream
sponsored a Carbon Conscious Consumer (C3) campaign called Junk Your Junkmail.
For a $41 fee, of which 1/3rd was donated to nonprofits, I hired a business
to get me off the direct mail lists and cancel my catalogs. Named for the 41
pounds of unsightly paper fat your mailbox consumes per year, they guaranteed  an 80% reduced-carbonhydrate mail diet.

The Price of Sugar

The film focuses on the exploitation of Haitian workers on sugar plantations in the Dominican Republic.  As we will discuss tonight, labor rights abuses are widespread in the sugar industry.  Problems of child labor, forced labor, poor living conditions, low wages and long hours, unsafe working conditions, denial of the right to organize and harassment of women workers can be found on many sugar plantations.  For more information, check out these reports on the sugar industry from the ILRF.


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