Press Releases

For media inquiries please contact Rachel Cohen: racohen78 [at]

Contract Worker Death Causes Safety Strike at Drummond in Colombia


In a unified response to safety shortfalls that killed a contract worker at Drummond Coal’s La Loma mine, 8,000 members of Sintramienergética and other contract staff stage a four-day strike late in March that shut production of Colombia’s second largest coal mine.

Dagoberto Clavijo Barranco, a one-month worker at La Loma who was put there through a labour agency, was killed on 23 March when the coal-hauling vehicle he was operating fell into an open-cast mine.

Equal Exchange Named One of the World’s Most Democratic Workplaces for 3rd Consecutive Year


For perks some companies offer flextime, job training, or 401k contributions, but at Equal Exchange full-time permanent workers can get a vote to go along with all that. The 23 year-old, $34 million employee-owned firm, best known for their Fair Trade coffee, tea and chocolate, is run like a small New England town where the workers are the citizens, the employee-led Board is the City Council, and the top managers fill a role similar to the City Manager.

Mars, Inc. Announces Sustainability Commitments for Cocoa

ILRF and OCA call for stronger commitment to Fair Trade and Organic sourcing

This Wednesday, Mars, Incorporated announced a commitment to source 100,000 metric tons of cocoa certified by the Rainforest Alliance annually for use in Mars products. The first product to use Rainforest Alliance certified cocoa will be Galaxy Chocolate in the UK and Ireland beginning in 2010.

New ITUC Report: Global Food Crisis Set to Worsen


A new report released by the International Trade Union Confederation predicts a worsening of the already serious global food crisis unless urgent action is taken by governments and international agencies. The number of people without enough to eat increased by 150 million in 2008, and the global economic crisis is likely to result in a further 200 million falling into absolute poverty.

Iran: Repression Escalates Against Trade Unionists


The ITUC strongly protests against the latest wave of repression that has targeted the Haft Tapeh union in Iran, which is a member of the Global Union Federation IUF. Several trade unionists have been subject to heavy-handed arrest, and subsequently released but Ali Nejati, the president of the union, arrested on 8 March, is still detained. This arrest follows a court proceeding against five trade union leaders from the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Plantation.

Cadbury Dairy Milk commits to going Fairtrade


Cadbury and the Fairtrade Foundation today announced plans to achieve Fairtrade certification for Cadbury Dairy Milk, the nation’s top selling chocolate bar, by end of Summer 2009. This groundbreaking move will result in the tripling of sales of cocoa under Fairtrade terms for cocoa farmers in Ghana, both increasing Fairtrade cocoa sales for existing certified farming groups, as well as opening up new opportunities for thousands more farmers to benefit from the Fairtrade system.

Divine Chocolate Leads as Catalyst for Change in Chocolate Market


Unique to Divine Chocolate, one of the leading dedicated Fairtrade companies in the UK and the USA, is the amazing story of how smallholder cocoa farmers in Ghana came to own 45% of a chocolate company. A company that has pioneered the market for Fair Trade chocolate; a company with products in all the major retail markets that delivers profits to the farmers of the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative; a company that aims to change the way the chocolate industry works forever.

Hundreds of Faith, Labor, Human Rights Leaders Urge Restrictions on US Military Aid to the Philippines



Rev. Larry Emery, (916) 284-6986, wgcpc[at] (West Coast)

Katrina Abarcar, (410) 998-9802, katarungan[at] (East Coast)


Monday, February 9, 2009— 236 leaders of faith-based organizations, union and labor rights groups, Filipino-American associations and academics sent a letter of concern today to members of Congress protesting human rights abuses by the Philippines, funded by US foreign military assistance.

Super Bowl Halftime Sponsor Bridgestone Firestone Continues to Exploit Workers in Liberia


This Sunday, millions of sports fans around the world will watch this year’s National Football League (NFL) Super Bowl Halftime show sponsored by Bridgestone and featuring Bruce Springsteen. Meanwhile, the halftime show’s title sponsor will continue its long history of exploitation of workers and the environment in Liberia.

JC Penney Drops Oak Harbor Freight Lines as Shipper


National retailer JC Penney (NYSE: JCP) has stopped using Oak Harbor Freight Lines to ship its merchandise in the western United States. This decision comes on the heels of a report by the International Labor Rights Forum, which found that Oak Harbor Freight Lines has violated international labor rights standards. Teamster members employed by Oak Harbor Freight have been on strike since September 22 because of violations of federal labor laws that protect workers’ rights, such as coercing and threatening employees, and making unlawful changes to working conditions.

ILRF Reports Numerous Labor Rights Violations Committed by Oak Harbor Freight Lines


International Labor Rights Forum released a new report finding that Oak Harbor Freight Lines violated international labor rights standards. Oak Harbor is a trucking firm headquartered in Auburn, Washington, that provides over-the-road transportation and delivery services for many commercial clients, including the company’s the Gap, Inc., the Maytag Corporation and others.

Onslaught Against Trade Unions Claimed 91 Lives in 2007


The publication of this year’s ITUC Annual Survey of Trade Union Rights Violations reveals an appalling record of union-busting, anti-union laws, intimidation and violence against workers’ representatives in 2007. A worldwide total of 91 trade unionists were murdered for defending workers’ rights, with Colombia, where 39 lost their lives, by far the worst offender yet again.