Smithfield Tar Heel Workers Want a Union

The story of Smithfield workers can be found at  Basically it's a typical story of corporate greed where over the past decade the company has begun to demand more production at higher speeds at the world's largest pork processing facility.  The workers are primarily black and Latino and the company has used tactics to try to divide the workforce.  Even more upsetting are the ICE immigration raids that have taken place as recently as last week ripping families apart of workers are spread across detention centers around the US.

Support freedom of speech and freedom of association

Background: Workers' Rights Violated; Critics gagged Since July 2006, the Garment and Textile Workers Union (GATWU), the New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI), the Civil Initiative for Peace and Development
(CIVIDEP), the Women Garment Workers Front Munnade and the CCC Task Force Tamil Nadu have been subject to a local court injunction, prohibiting them from distributing information inside and outside of
India about the working conditions at international jeans suppliers Fibres and Fabrics International and its subsidiary Jeans Knit Pvt Ltd (FFI/JKPL). Through this court order labour support organisations are

Immigration from the Source

Yet all the great programs of the union can not change the fact that
work on the banana plantation is brutally hot and dangerous. SITRABI
members receive a little more than Guatemala’s minimum wage, about $6
US a day.  They may also live on the plantation's small houses (shared
between two often large
families) rent and utilities free.  There is a school and daycare for
the children, healthcare facilities, and a small pension for retirees.

Labor Rights in Pakistan

Pakistani activists face deep-seated challenges, such as an unequal,
essentially feudal division of land (cemented under British rule) and the decades-long decline of the
country’s trade unions.  But there is much, too, in the terms of
Pakistan’s international trade relations that must be altered if
workers are to share fully in their nation’s extraordinary economic
boom—a boom which has seen the economy go from 5 percent GDP growth in
2003 to over 7 percent today.

Tracing School Uniforms

I asked some questions to find out where our uniforms were from. The
shirts are made in Haiti. They are then sent through the Port of Miami.
They then go to Eden, North Carolina for distribution. Next, they go to
a company in Virginia called Atlantic Coast Cotton for redistribution.
Then they go to Silver Spring, where the logo is printed by a company
called Blue Chip. And finally they end up at CCHS – where we wear them!

ILRF Statement Regarding Wal-Mart’s 2006 Ethical Standards Report

Several of the report’s
claims concerning improved supervision of supplier factories ring hollow. For example, responding to years of
complaints that Wal-Mart routinely alerts managers before it inspects factories,
the report applauds the company for raising the percentage of unannounced
audits to 26 percent of all audits in 2006. Yet this falls short of Wal-Mart’s goal of 30 percent for the year
(announced in its 2005 report) and is well below the percentage of audits that
are conducted unannounced by other companies, such as Reebok, which claimed 46
percent of its audits were unannounced in 2005. How much effort would it take for Wal-Mart to simply not alert its

Union Genocide

seems fair to say that the targeted killing of union members is different than
the targeted killing of a particular racial or ethnic group. Rather than perceiving the victim as
sub-human (as is seen in racial and ethnic “cleansing”), assassins of union
members are in the business of protecting economic interests. In Colombia, they are most often members of
paramilitary (about 41% in 2005, in cases where perpetrators were known) or
state (about 36% in 2005) forces who have some ideological or economic
arrangement with local company managers (the cooperation of the Colombian
government and US companies in these arrangements has gained extensive exposure

Firestone's sub-par score on human rights

For Bridgestone Americas, the tournament provided a key place to build relationships with new customers and suppliers as well as significant brand exposure (the company estimates over 700 million references to their name through the tournament's coverage in the media).  The tournament also showed Bridgestone/Firestone's increasing investment in golf.  They currently make golf balls (which contain rubber) and other related golf products.  As Bridgestone Americas Holdings, Inc.

The Great Debate

The AFL-CIO Blog has a number of posts about the debate.  The debate was also covered by several other media outlets.  Below are some of the articles.  For more on workers' rights issues in Chicago and how you can support workers at one factory there, check out this blog entry.

SEIU is sponsoring a campaign called Walk a Day in My Shoes where presidential candidates are asked to accompany SEIU members on the job and at home to see what it is really like for working families.  Check it out!


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