In the News

Children protest outside Wal-Mart

Boston Globe

By Stephanie V. Siek

FRAMINGHAM -- A group of children protesting Wal-Mart's alleged use of sweatshop labor was asked to leave the store property yesterday after trying to present a store manager with a letter detailing its concerns.

''Don't make me ask the police to make them leave," said a Wal-Mart employee, identified by her nametag as Donna, as the group stood outside the store entrance.

Union Takes Case Against North Carolina to ILO

Triangle Business Journal

A labor union filed a complaint with the International Labor Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday accusing the state of North Carolina of violating international labor law.

The complaint, filed by the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) and UE Local 150, the organization's North Carolina chapter, was also served to Gov. Mike Easley on Dec. 9, according to UE International Labor Affairs Director Robin Alexander.

Wal-Mart Hopes WTO Will Help It Open a Door

LA Times

Big retailers will seek to alter a services pact. Local officials fear a loss of power to limit firms.

By Evelyn Iritani

Union leaders, politicians and anti-globalization activists have used the courts and zoning laws to keep big-box stores like Wal-Mart out of their neighborhoods.

Now the Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant and other major chains are hoping to counterattack with a powerful new weapon: the World Trade Organization.

2005 List: the 14 Worst Corporate Evildoers

Global Exchange

Corporations carry out some of the most horrific human rights abuses of modern times, but it is increasingly difficult to hold them to account. Economic globalization and the rise of transnational corporate power have created a favorable climate for corporate human rights abusers, which are governed principally by the codes of supply and demand and show genuine loyalty only to their stockholders.

Labor conditions improving -- slowly -- in factories


HONG KONG, China (Reuters) -- Pressure on Western firms to improve conditions at factories in China is paying off, experts say, with some firms granting workers rights that are still taboo for most employees in the Communist state.

After being faced with boycotts in the 1990s, many international companies adopted stricter labor codes to counter accusations by consumers and labor activists that the firms were operating sweatshop-style factories in developing countries.

Complaint filed with UN Agency Accusing North Carolina of International Labor Law Violations

United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) Press Release:

For Immediate Release

Raleigh, NC

A delegation of labor leaders from six states and three countries this morning delivered to Governor Mike Easley a copy of a complaint filed with the International Labor Organization in Geneva, Switzerland charging North Carolina with widespread violations of international labor law and human rights.

LIBERIA: Firestone Sued Over "Slave" Plantation

Corp Watch

by Haider Rizvi,

Firestone, a multinational rubber manufacturing giant known for its automobile tires, has come under fire from human rights and environmental groups for its alleged use of child labor and slave-like working conditions at a plantation in Liberia.

Recently, the International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF), a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, filed a lawsuit charging that thousands of workers, including minors, toil in virtual slavery at Bridgestone's Firestone rubber plantation in Liberia.

India's weaving industry falls victim to globalization

Deutsche Presse-Agentur

The weaver and his art - symbols of the Indian freedom movement and the national flag which still must be made only of "khadi" hand-spun yarn - are now almost pariah in the populous South Asian country due to globalization.

Mahatma Gandhi, father of the Indian nation, who mobilized self- reliance by promoting the use of hand-spun cloth, would be distraught were he alive today.