In the News

Flower Workers Day makes progress

Colombia Week


Valentine's Day has become practically synonymous with red roses, yet few consumers have any idea where the flowers come from. The roses purchased last week in the typical U.S. supermarket came from women working 60-hour weeks for less than $1 an hour in pesticide-filled greenhouses and freezing warehouses near the Colombian capital.

Poison Posies? :Floral Industry's Use of Pesticides Has Some Consumers Wary

By Marc Lallanilla

Nothing can express affection on Valentine's Day better than a bouquet of fresh flowers. But those floral beauties come at a high cost — for the health of the workers that harvest them. That's because most flowers are grown free from many pesticide regulations, leaving low-wage floral industry workers vulnerable to toxic exposures.

Chinese Workers Pay for Wal-Mart's Low Prices

The Washington Post

By Peter S. Goodman and Philip P. Pan

Page A01

SHENZHEN, China -- Inside the factory, amid clattering machinery and clouds of sawdust, men without earplugs or protective goggles feed wood into screaming electric saws, making cabinets for stereo speakers. Women hunch over worktables, many hands bandaged and few covered by gloves, pressing transistors into circuit boards.

Capitalism in the raw

The Economist

Labour rights and free trade with the United States

Every weekday, Dora Amelia Ramos, a single mother, leaves her breeze-block home in a village south of San Salvador at 6am to go to her job at a maquila factory making clothes for export from imported cloth. Earning the minimum wage of just over $5 a day, she is perched on one of the lower rungs of the world economy. But she counts herself lucky to have a job at all. That is because she is a trade unionist.

Brazil Pays Parents to Help Poor Be Pupils, Not Wage Earners

New York Times

By Celia Dugger

FORTALEZA, Brazil — Vandelson Andrade, 13, often used to skip school to work 12-hour days on the small, graceful fishing boats that sail from the picturesque harbor here. His meager earnings helped pay for rice and beans for his desperately poor family.

But this year he qualified for a small monthly cash payment from the government that his mother receives on the condition that he shows up in the classroom.

Three Colombia Airmen Charged in Bombing

Associated Press

By VANESSA ARRINGTON Associated Press Writer

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) - Reviving a case that strained relations with the United States, Colombia's attorney general has charged the crew of a military helicopter with involuntary manslaughter for killing 17 civilians with a bomb during a 1998 clash with rebels.

The crew members - Capt. Cesar Romero, 1st Lt. Johan Jimenez and Hector Mario Hernandez, a technician - will be tried in civilian court for the bombing near the northeastern village of Santo Domingo, the attorney general's office said.