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Showing blog posts by Tula Connell

About Tula Connell

I got my first union card while I worked my way through college as a banquet bartender for the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee (we were represented by a hotel and restaurant local union—the names of the national unions were different then than they are now). With a background in journalism—covering bull roping in Texas and school boards in Virginia—I started working in the labor movement in 1991. Beginning as a writer for SEIU (and OPEIU member), I now blog under the title of AFL-CIO managing editor.

Migrant Workers 'Shouldn't Have to Be Tortured to Have Work'

Migrant Workers 'Shouldn't Have to Be Tortured to Have Work'

Three times each month, dozens of women gather in dusty courtyards in rural towns in Manikganj, Dinazpur or other districts across Bangladesh to learn all they can about the only means by which they can support their families: migrating to another country for work.

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Swaziland: Textile Workers Sickened from a Dangerous Chemical

Swaziland: Textile Workers Sickened from a Dangerous Chemical

Workers continue to be sickened at a Swazi textile factory where dozens of workers required hospitalization earlier this month after the plant began using the dangerous chemical butyl acetate to clean clothing stains. The workers, who went to the hospital at their own expense, reported chest pains, severe headaches, vomiting and bleeding, and some collapsed.

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1 Year After Rana Plaza, Survivors, Families Struggle to Survive

Families of those killed at Rana Plaza gathered yesterday at the site of the collapse. None of the families pictured have received compensation. Photo: Solidarity Center

One year ago today, as the walls of the multistory Rana Plaza building collapsed around her, Moriom Begum was trapped, injured and unable to move in the dark, surrounded by the lifeless bodies of her co-workers.

To donate to the workers directly, contribute to the Bangladesh Worker Rights Defense Fund

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Report: 202 Million People Out of Work in 2013

Report: 202 Million People Out of Work in 2013

Nearly 202 million people were unemployed in 2013 around the world, some 5 million more than in 2012, because the number of jobs is not keeping pace with the growing workforce. As the world’s elite meet in Davos, Switzerland, this week to discuss global economics, the International Labor Organization released its annual jobs report, showing how much work must be done to ensure workers can support themselves and their families.

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Send Solidarity Greetings to Bangladeshi Garment Workers

Following the Tazreen fire, thousands protested deadly working conditions in Bangladesh garment factories. Photo: BIGUF

A year ago, 112 garment workers were killed in a fire at the Tazreen Fashion Ltd. factory—and a thousand others were injured in the scramble to escape a building with no fire escapes and firmly barred windows.

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Tazreen Factory Fire: A Year Later, Survivors Feel Forgotten

Tazreen Factory Fire: A Year Later, Survivors Feel Forgotten

In interviews with the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center staff in Dhaka, the Bangladesh capital, many survivors said they were so injured in the blaze and escape from the building that they are unable to work again. Yet the compensation they received after the disaster—if they received any assistance at all—was not sufficient to cover initial medical bills, let alone pay for the expensive, ongoing care many need. Some were the sole breadwinners and, without the ability to work and with no financial assistance to see them through their recoveries, their families often go hungry, they cannot afford to send their children to school and many even risk losing their homes.

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Africa Expert: More Than One Type of Piracy Off Somalia

Dr. Abdi Samatar (forefront) and Michael Shank discussed the piracy of the rich and poor in Somalia. Photo: Kate Conradt

The new movie “Captain Phillips” tells only part of the story of Somali piracy—one that already has been repeated by the media and in policy making circles around the world, according to two Africa region experts. “The conventional conception of piracy in Somalia is myopic,” said Dr. Abdi Samatar. “There is more than one type of piracy off the Somali coast.”

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Young Workers from Across the Globe Unite for World Day for Decent Work

World Day for Decent Work

In honor of World Day for Decent Work, Oct. 7, youth across the globe are mourning for the dead and organizing for the next generation of workers—those struggling to make ends meet. The call to action this day is to organize for dignity, respect and a voice on the job. 

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113 Nations Make Progress in Ending Worst Forms of Child Labor

Photo via Department of Labor

Working with her family in Malawi’s agriculture fields, where she toils in the hot sun, 8-year-old Ethel says when she harvests produce, “I get headaches and pain in my stomach.”

Ethel is one of 168 million child laborers around the world, 85 million of whom work in hazardous conditions. The 12th annual Department of Labor report, 2012 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor, released [Sept. 30], chronicles the progress of 143 governments in combating the worst forms of child labor, which includes working in agriculture like Ethel.

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ILO: Child Labor Declines, Worst Forms Will Remain by 2016

ILO Photo

The number of child laborers has declined by one-third globally, from 246 million in 2000 to 168 million in 2012, according to an International Labor Organization (ILO) report released Monday. Yet the report also shows that despite the reduction, the worst forms of child labor will not be eliminated by 2016, a goal sought by the ILO and its international allies.

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