Labor Considerations Regarding the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

Publication Date: 

May 12, 2009

Colombia is the most dangerous country in the world to be a trade unionist and already in 2009, 17 union leaders have been murdered. Hundreds of union leaders have been killed since the Uribe Administration came to power in 2002, yet the Obama Administration is still considering the passage of a Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and Colombia. ILRF has outlined the reasons why the current Colombian government should not be rewarded with an FTA in the near future.

DR-CAFTA and Workers Rights: Moving from Paper to Practice

Publication Date: 

May 1, 2009

This year, the 111th Congress and the Obama Administration are preparing to move forward on pending trade agreements with Panama, Colombia and South Korea. Passage of these trade agreements have stalled due to a variety of concerns including labor rights practices, especially in Colombia and Panama. The current discussion is on charting a course of action for governments prior to a vote in the U.S. Congress on the trade agreements such as establishing reasonable and timely benchmarks that demonstrate improvements in a given area and authorizing an international body to monitor compliance.

Roadmap for Ethical Product Certification and Standard Setting Initiatives

Publication Date: 

May 1, 2009

Any certification program for ethical products must truly tackle the root causes of factory and farm sweatshop conditions in global supply chains. These programs should address the power imbalance inherent in current sourcing relationships that lead to rock-bottom product prices, contractor non-compliance, and poverty wages for workers. Credible certification systems should incorporate as basic and starting principles: a living wage for workers, independent worker organization, and fair pricing for contractors.

Legal Complaint Against Dole

Publication Date: 

April 28, 2009

This legal complaint was filed by the Conrad & Scherer law firm on April 28, 2009 in California state court in Los Angeles against Dole. The suit alleges that the company made illegal payments to right-wing paramilitary groups to intimidate workers from joining unions. The plaintiffs are 51 men allegedly murder by the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) for union organizing or attempting to prevent Dole from taking their land.

2009 ILRF Testimony to the USTR Regarding Philippines GSP Complaint

Publication Date: 

April 24, 2009

This is testimony to the United States Trade Representative delivered by ILRF on April 24, 2009 explains recent developments regarding labor rights violations in the Philippines. The testimony is related to the Generalized System of Preferences petition ILRF filed against the Philippines in 2007 based on the widespread attacks on workers' right to organize.

Memo to Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders regarding "yes" vote on Sustainability Report Resolution

Publication Date: 

April 13, 2009

ILRF is urging shareholders of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Corporation to support a resolution requesting company management to produce a report on its portfolio companies’ practices in the areas of labor and human rights and other issues related to the environmental and social impact of their business activities. This memo was sent on April 13, 2009 to the leading shareholder advisory services by ILRF and International Rivers, a nongovernmental organization concerned with the impact of dams on communities and the environment, urging a “yes” vote on this proposal.

Trafficking in Tobacco Farm Culture: Tobacco Companies’ Use of Video Imagery to Undermine Health Policy

Publication Date: 

April 1, 2009

Cigarette companies and their lobbying organization used tobacco industry–produced films and videos about tobacco farming to support their political, public relations, and public policy goals. Critical discourse analysis shows how tobacco companies utilized film and video imagery, and narratives of tobacco farmers and tobacco economies, for lobbying politicians and influencing consumers, industry-allied groups, and retail shop owners to oppose tobacco control measures and counter publicity on the health hazards, social problems, and environmental effects of tobacco growing.