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Showing blog posts by Cathy Feingold

Worker Protests in Ciudad Juárez Shine a Light on Ongoing Workers' Rights Violations in Mexico

Just across the border with Texas, workers in Ciudad Juárez have been launching brave actions against global manufacturing giants to improve conditions in the low-wage maquiladora sector. Over the past six months, workers at large assembly plants owned by Commscope, Eaton, Foxconn and Lexmark, producing electronics, auto parts and printing supplies for the U.S. market, have launched a series of mobilizations to protest wages as low as $30 per week, unsafe working conditions, sexual harassment and discrimination. Juárez is a major location of such industry, accounting for well over 10% of all such exports from Mexico. In several cases, workers have attempted to form independent unions to defend their rights and have a voice at work.

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Border Crisis Spurs AFL-CIO, Honduran Labor Movement to Call for Renewed Attention to Labor Rights Violations in Honduras

Border Crisis Spurs AFL-CIO, Honduran Labor Movement to Call for Renewed Attention to Labor Rights Violations in Honduras

As thousands of unaccompanied minors have arrived at the United States’ southern border in recent weeks, right-wing politicians and activists have used the refugee situation to push their anti-immigrant agendas, roll back protections for potential trafficking victims and stoke xenophobia among the general public by focusing on gang violence and disease.

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The AFL-CIO Initiative on the Future of Worker Representation: An International Conversation

Like many of our global counterparts, the AFL-CIO faces many challenges. Last year, the federal Bureau for Labor Statistics announced that the percentage of U.S. workers represented by unions fell in 2012 to levels not seen since the 1930s. In response, the AFL-CIO Executive Council reaffirmed its commitment to organizing a stronger, more inclusive labor movement. As part of this commitment, Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, announced an initiative on the future of worker representation. The initiative will engage elected union leaders in the United States and globally, as well as their members and staff, workers, allies and experts, to gather information to ensure that workers continue to be represented at work and in the political arena and that the labor movement makes the changes necessary for a renewal of worker representation.

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Bahrain: Consultations an Important Opening to Protect Human Rights, Promote Regional Security

Bahraini workers rally for democracy at the Pearl Roundabout in Manama, March 2011, photo courtesy of ITUC.

Finally, 17 months after the U.S. Department of Labor accepted a complaint detailing the government of Bahrain’s repeated violations of the free-trade agreement with the United States, the department has reported its findings. 

This report, issued today, is laudable for its call for bilateral consultations to address ongoing worker rights violations. However, the delay in its release has been costly—for Bahraini workers, for U.S. credibility as a human rights defender and for workers in other countries with bilateral trade agreements with the United States. If the U.S. government does not live up to its commitments and hold Bahrain accountable to the trade agreement’s labor chapter, then why should we expect other trading partners to bother?  

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Foreign Policy Debate: What Working Families Are Listening For

By VOA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Tonight, as President Obama and Mitt Romney prepare for their final debate on foreign policy, many workers will have a chance to listen to the candidates’ visions for the future in a changing world. The candidates will debate six issue areas, ranging from America’s role in the world, to the ongoing wars and the rise of China. They will hear two very distinct visions for America’s role globally. While most working families continue to struggle under the strain of stagnant wages and a domestic and global jobs crisis, they will listen for these key issues.

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Bahrain's Denial of Visas to Rights Activists Underscores Contempt for Human and Worker Rights

This is an excerpt from The Huffington Post article, "Bahrain's Denial of Visas to Rights Activists Underscores Contempt for Human and Worker Rights," by Cathy Feingold, director of AFL-CIO's International Department. 

What is the best way for the United States to stand against violent repression, the quashing of dissent, show trials, torture and other egregious violations of human and civil rights?

In the case of Bahrain, apparently, it is to include the country in a new U.S. trade and investment plan and offer mostly silence as the regime crushes its opposition, invests heavily in a public relations campaign and closes off the country to human rights and social justice activists.

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Mass Protests in Mexico Challenge Fraudulent Elections

On July 1, Mexicans went to the polls to elect a president and Members of Congress. The stagnation of the economy, lack of opportunities for decent employment for young people and the terrible violence of the drug war were key issues motivating the voters.  Unfortunately, both the incumbent PAN party and one of the other challenging parties, the PRI,  support so-called labor law reforms that would undermine worker rights while weakening social protections.

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