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Bangladesh Worker Rights Defense Fund

Bangladesh union members. Photo: Shawna Bader-Blau

Bangladeshi union organizer Hasina Akter was talking with garment workers in Dhaka when a group of at least 20 people accosted her, as well as the three other union organizers and a worker leader who were with her. She and her companions were threatened and beaten, one into unconsciousness. Two organizers had to be hospitalized following the assault, and the factory worker went into hiding.

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Fight for Fair Wages Continues in Haiti

Photo by Cesar de la Cruz

Even before a 7.0 magnitude earthquake decimated much of the country in 2010, many Haitians struggled to earn anything close to a living wage. As the country continues to rebuild, one strategy embraced by the United States and Haitian governments has been the development of export-oriented industries, particularly apparel. The apparel sector has grown by more than 45% since the earthquake. In 2013, the industry represented 9% of Haiti’s GDP and 89% of its export earnings. Unfortunately, these gains are not reaching workers.

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Unscrupulous Employers Take Advantage of Immigrant Workers in H-2B Visa Program

Samuel Rosales Rio came to the United States from Mexico under an H-2B visa to work at a food stand in a traveling carnival. When he arrived, he and his co-workers, most of whom also entered the country under the H-2B program, wound up working 16 to 17 hours a day in the sweltering heat for as little as $1 an hour. Workers were only provided a single meal each day and the meager wages made it impossible to supplement. Under the H-2B program, employers are supposed to provide adequate housing, but workers reported sleeping in overcrowded trailers infested with fleas and bedbugs without a place to wash. Rosales wound up in the hospital as a result of dehydration and infections from bug bites.

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Why Aren’t We Having a Public Debate on Investment Policies in the TTIP?

In early March, the AFL-CIO joined 42 other organizations representing labor, business, public health, environmental concerns, consumers, family farms and good governance as well as three legal scholars in sending a letter calling on the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to match the European Commission’s commitment to holding a public consultation on investment issues, particularly with respect to the pending U.S.-European Union trade negotiations (known as the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP).

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'I Thought I Wouldn't Survive': Rana Plaza Survivors Tell Their Stories

'I Thought I Wouldn't Survive': Rana Plaza Survivors Tell Their Stories

“I thought I wouldn’t survive,” Aklima Khanam said, as she described how she felt when she was trapped under machinery in the collapsed Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, one of the most deadly workplace accidents in history. Khanam and Aleya Akter, both garment workers, came to the AFL-CIO on Monday to discuss the ongoing struggle to obtain justice and prevent more needless deaths in the garment industry.

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Make the Colombia Labor Rights Action Plan Work for Workers

Three years ago today, when the governments of Colombia and the United States signed the Labor Action Plan (LAP), Colombian workers hoped that systemic violence against labor activists and persistent employer abuses would at last come to an end. As Miguel Conde of the union SINTRAINAGRO explains in a new report by the AFL-CIO, palm workers at the Bucarelia plantation initially were hopeful, but the LAP profoundly failed to deliver meaningful change in their lives.

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Walmart Store Closures in China Disrupt Workers' Lives and Livelihoods

Workers at Walmart stores in Changde, Hunan Province, and Ma’anshan, Anhui Province, in China are protesting Walmart’s plans to close the stores.

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International Solidarity Helps Fijian Workers

In this era of bad news about wages, inequality and egregious anti-worker behavior from employers, it’s good to celebrate wins for workers. This week, Fijian workers got a big win at the meeting of the governing body of the International Labor Organization (ILO). 

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Global Labor Unions Lead the Fight to Advance Rights and Equality for Working Women

ICYMI, the United Nations this month examined women's equality worldwide and invited some special guests (including AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler) to discuss ways to improve the lives of working women across the globe. 

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Dominican Citizenship Ruling Creates Stateless Underclass

Dominican Citizenship Ruling Creates Stateless Underclass

In the Dominican Republic, you can be stripped of your citizenship even if you were born there. In September 2013, the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court concluded that individuals who are unable to prove their parents’ regular migration status can be retroactively stripped of their citizenship.

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