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Colombia's Labor Activists Still Targets of Violence

Colombia's Labor Activists Still Targets of Violence

In July 2011, more than 5,000 Colombia petroleum workers walked off the job at the multinational company Pacific Rubiales Energy Corp. to demand better working conditions, better pay and union representation. More than 4,000 joined the Unión Sindical Obrera (USO), which presented a collective bargaining proposal to the company. These brave workers faced down the continuing prevalence of systematic violence against labor and other human rights activists and impunity for perpetrators, to exercise their rights.

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AFL-CIO Executive Council Honors Building and Wood Workers’ International with Meany-Kirkland Human Rights Award

AFL-CIO Executive Council Honors Building and Wood Workers’ International with Meany-Kirkland Human Rights Award

The Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) and its affiliates, which are at the forefront of the campaign to bring justice to construction workers worldwide, are the recipients of the 2014 Meany-Kirkland Human Rights Award, the AFL-CIO Executive Council announced in a statement adopted at its annual winter meeting in Houston.

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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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Working Families Staged a Protest Against Cambodian Government's Brutal Repression Against Garment Workers

Protest outside Cambodian Embassy. Photo by Ron Carver.

Deadly violence against striking garment workers has set off a global response by unions and allies around the world. Over the past several days, unions, labor rights activists and student groups protested at Cambodian embassies and consulates first in Seoul, Berlin and Jakarta and since then in Washington, D.C., London and Hong Kong. During the Jan. 10  protest in Washington, D.C., the AFL-CIO delivered a letter calling on the government to cease violence, investigate the violent events, release detained workers and return to negotiations with workers for a fair wage.

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Shouldn’t the American Government Lead by Example?

Shouldn’t the American Government Lead by Example?

The story of Propper International, one of the largest clothing companies in the world, offers some important lessons on the ways the American government, sometimes inadvertently, undermines workers’ ability to make their jobs better globally.

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Homicide Charges Filed in Bangladesh Clothing Factory Fire Where 112 Died

The owners of the Bangladesh sweatshop garment factory where 112 workers were killed in a fire last year have been charged with homicide. Bloomberg News reports that Delwar Hossain and his wife, owners of Tazreen Fashion Ltd., and the company’s engineer were among 13 people charged under two sections of the law, including homicide.

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The U.S. Government Must Change Its Buying Practices to Protect and Respect Workers' Rights in Its Own Supply Chain

A worker sews pants for a military contractor, Propper International, at the BKI plant in the CODEVI industrial area in Ouanaminthe, Haiti, where workers are paid .72 an hour (below the minimum wage) and are regularly sickened by dirty drinking water.

Today’s New York Times reported a comprehensive overview of child labor, forced overtime, wage violations and other illegal, dangerous and inhumane conditions at factories that produce apparel for the U.S. government in Bangladesh, Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam. As the story reminds us, the U.S. government is a major buyer at the top of numerous supply chains. 

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Could Amazon's Jeff Bezos Survive One of His Company's Own Warehouses for a Week?

Photo of Seattle protest.

That's the question Nancy Becker, an American employed by Amazon in Germany since 2001, asked as she trekked to Seattle this week to stand up for the rights of workers in the online retailer's "fulfillment centers." The centers—little more than warehouses where workers are faced with near-impossible workloads for minimal pay—are the subject of rallies in Seattle and Germany on Monday. Becker traveled from her workplace in Germany, “I’m coming to Seattle to dare Jeff Bezos to try working as a picker for a single week. I’m sure he would not survive.”

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Deutsche Telekom Workers Face Daily Threats, Bullying and Aggression

Deutsche Telekom Workers Face Daily Threats, Bullying and Aggression

In a report released today by ver.di and UNI Global Union, employees at Deutsche Telekom, the parent company of T-Mobile, report working in a high-pressure atmosphere under nearly impossible performance standards. The company's employees in seven countries were surveyed and reported widespread abuse throughout the company. Countries surveyed include Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Montenegro, Romania and the United States.

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FLOC Pushing British American Tobacco to Use Influence to Improve Workers' Rights

Baldmar Velasquez

To convince British American Tobacco (BAT) to use its influence to improve the rights of tobacco farm workers in the United States, Baldemar Velasquez, president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), will be briefing members of the British Parliament.  BAT owns more than 42% of Reynolds and FLOC is attempting to convince BAT to persuade Reynolds to sign an agreement that would guarantee good working conditions and protect the collective bargaining rights of migrant workers on Reynolds contract farms in North Carolina. Velasquez will participate in the briefing Thursday.

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