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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.

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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Gender Equality: The Unfinished Business of the Labor Movement

Brazilian trade union leaders joined Solidarity Center Executive Director Shawna Bader-Blau (second from left) at the opening plenary. Photo: Matt Hersey

Women at every level are “moving the labor movement in new directions” and “inventing new kinds of worker organizations and new ways of being a trade unionist,” says labor historian Dorothy Sue Cobble.

 
 

Cobble, distinguished professor of history and labor studies at Rutgers University, was among several speakers opening a two-day AFL-CIO Solidarity Center conference this morning, “Women’s Empowerment, Gender Equality and Labor Rights: Transforming the Terrain.” Nearly 100 labor and community activists from 20 countries are gathered here in São Paulo, Brazil, to share strategies for achieving gender equality and worker rights in their unions and their workplaces.

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After Zimbabwe Elections, Union Worker Education Continues

Photo: Macpherson Photographers via the Solidarity Center

As Zimbabwe’s July 31 presidential elections approach, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), one of the country’s only nonpolitical, mass-based movements, plans to actively promote free and fair elections and, equally important, hold lawmakers accountable after elections.

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Dominican Republic: Domestic Workers Wage Long Campaign for Rights

Domestic workers in the Dominican Republic are urging lawmakers to pass the "Decent Work for Domestic Workers" standard. Photo credit: Julio Lantigua

Workers this week are marking the second anniversary of the historic passage of a global standard covering the rights of domestic workers. The International Labor Organization's (ILO's) Decent Work for Domestic Workers Convention (No. 189) covers written employment contracts, protection from harassment, abuse and violence, hours of work, job safety and other workplace safeguards.

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