After three years of studying the impact of the free trade agreement DR-CAFTA on labor rights, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) published a study today that reveals that labor conditions in the DR-CAFTA countries have not improved and violations have not diminished regardless of promises made by the member countries to improve labor rights and the millions of dollars invested by the United States to meet this objective. Moreover, WOLA anticipates the labor situation in Central America will deteriorate further due to the global economic crisis.
Meeting in Bogotá, Colombia, on 27 April, the ICEM Latin America/Caribbean Regional Committee gave strong support to non-ICEM affiliate Sintramienergética in the aftermath of its safety strike against US-based Drummond Coal recently. (Details on that strike can be found here.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The Dole Food Company in Peru has agreed to a settlement with its subcontracted banana workers. The harvesting and packing workers had been denied the pay for the weekly rest day for nearly five years.
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.