The AFL-CIO welcomes the Burmese government’s decision to remove some 2,000 people from a blacklist of more than 6,000 banned from entering the country. Among those affected by this decision is Maung Maung, the general secretary of the ITUC-affiliated Federation of Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB). After decades in exile, Maung Maung’s return represents an important step in Burma’s history and provides hope to millions of unorganized workers.
There are doubts about the institutions responsible for the rule of law in Honduras and the government’s protection of human rights, acknowledged the U.S. State Department in an Aug. 8 report. Unfortunately, the State Department says virtually nothing about the widespread impunity regarding violations of freedom of association or the threats and violence aimed at labor activists.
The AFL-CIO and its affiliated unions have called for immediate action in Colombia around the mistreatment of the members of ASOTRECOL, an association of ex-workers and injured workers at Colmotores, a General Motors (GM) subsidiary in Colombia.
The “Hyatt Hurts” campaign continues this week, with support from the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF) and virtually every union representing hotel workers worldwide. Additionally, nearly 5,000 individuals and organizations have pledged to honor boycotts.
Two and a half years after the earthquake on January 12, 2010, Haiti remains mired in a humanitarian crisis, with 390,000 people languishing in tents. Despite this, the showcase project of the reconstruction effort, led by USAID, the InterAmerican Development Bank, the Clinton Foundation and others is an industrial park that will create jobs and housing in an area undamaged by the earthquake, a venture that seems to benefit foreign companies more than Haiti itself.
Although corporations are now investing in Burma, opportunities for economic growth must be balanced with protections for working people, Burmese political opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said last week. Speaking at the International Labor Organization (ILO) Conference in Geneva, Suu Kyi was joined by U Maung Maung, general secretary of the General Trade Unions of Burma (FTUB), who spoke about the long struggle for freedom of association and the freedom to organize in Burma.
There is a massive disconnect between the austerity measures proposed by national governments worldwide and a desire to invest in jobs and growth on the part of citizens, according to a poll commissioned by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). Two-thirds (66 percent) of respondents surveyed say they prefer jobs and growth, 10 percent austerity and 24 percent express equal support for both messages.
The 2012 ILO Annual Conference is under way in Geneva, Switzerland, and representatives of employers have blocked discussion of some of the worst cases of workers' rights violations. The conference usually brings up the most serious cases from the annual report of the ILO’s Committee of Experts, a 17-member committee of eminent international jurists and legal scholars. But this year, the Employers Group has used procedural maneuvers to block discussion of any cases.
Pacific Rim Cayman LLC, the mining company determined to extract gold along the banks of El Salvador’s Lempa River, has failed in its attempt to use the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) to force the Salvadoran government to allow it to mine in the region. El Salvador has opposed Pacific Rim’s plans because the process threatens cyanide leakage into the Lempa River, whose basin covers 49 percent of the territory of El Salvador and is the main water source for a majority of the nation’s population.
Although Indonesia's economy is growing and poverty decreasing, the average worker is not reaping the benefits of a booming economy, according to Jamie Davis, the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center's country program director in Jakarta. At a well-attended brown-bag discussion at the AFL-CIO last week, Davis discussed the progress of Indonesian workers since the end of the oppressive Suharto dictatorship in 1998 and their opportunities for forming unions. The door to the middle class is not opening for the majority of workers in the formal sector, most of whom only receive minimum wage—which all policymakers agree is not a living wage.