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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.

Solidarity Center: Afro-Colombians Fighting Against Discrimination at Work

Agripina Hurtado dscusses the goals of the new Afro-Colombian Labor Council. Photo: Tula Connell

Afro-Colombians are far likelier than other Colombian workers to earn less than the minimum wage and to be employed in jobs where they cannot form unions  to improve their working conditions. And all of this exclusion “has a strong current of racial discrimination under it,” said Agripina Hurtado, the newly elected president of the Afro-Colombian Labor Council (Consejo Labor Afrocolombiano). A quarter of Colombia’s population is Afro-descendant, yet Afro-Colombians comprise more than three-quarters of the country’s poor.

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Working Women Empowered: Honduran Women Build Leadership

Photo courtesy STICH

Irís Munguía began toiling at a banana packing plant at age 18, living on the banana finca (plantation) as a condition of employment. After 22 years at the plant, the longtime union activist now heads the Honduran banana and agricultural worker confederation, COSIBAH (Coordinadora de Sindicatos Bananeros y Agroindustriales de Honduras), founded in 1993. Munguía also is the first female coordinator of COLSIBA, the Latin American coordinating body of agricultural unions.

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Working Women Empowered: Making Democracy in Tunisia

Photo by the Associated Press via the Solidarity Center website.

In December 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi, a 23-year-old market vendor in Tunisia, self-immolated to protest deep-seated government corruption that made it impossible for him to earn a living. Following his desperate action, Tunisian women helped spur protests and end autocratic regimes in Tunisia and throughout the Arabic-speaking world. Today, Tunisian women remain in the forefront of ensuring democratic change in their country during the difficult years of government transition.

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Working Women Empowered: Building Strength Through Unions

Photo courtesy of the AFL-CIO's Solidarity Center.

Women make up more than 40.5% of the workforce worldwide, according to the most recent data by the International Labor Organization. But their labor has not resulted in a similar level in financial well-being.  

 
 

Far from it.

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Global Unions Urge Release of Imprisoned Russian Trade Unionist

Valentin Urusov was detained prior to the start of a rally he was organizing. Photo: CSID

Trade unionist Valentin Urusov is proof that in Russia it’s still possible to be imprisoned in the 21st century equivalent of the gulag for standing up for worker rights on the job. An electrical fitter at an ore-processing mill owned by the diamond mining company Alrosa, Urusov has spent more than four years of a six-year term in a penal colony in Yakutia in far northern Russia.

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Bangladesh: Seven Women Dead in a Preventable Factory Fire

When Bangladesh garment workers seek to form unions, they often have been physically threatened or assaulted. Photo: Derek Blackadder

Seven young women, at least two of them teenagers, died over the weekend in a Bangladesh garment factory fire—the 28th fire incident to frighten, injure or kill Bangladeshi garment workers since a deadly blaze at the Tazreen Fashion factory killed at least 112 workers in late November, according to the AFL-CIO's Solidarity Center staff in Bangladesh. At least 491 garment workers have been injured on the job since the Tazreen blaze, according to information compiled by the Solidarity Center. The Solidarity Center's mission is to help build a global labor movement by strengthening the economic and political power of workers around the world through effective, independent and democratic unions.

Bangladesh: Seven Women Dead in a Preventable Factory Fire originally appeared on the Solidarity Center's blog. 

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El Salvador Airline Servicer Fires 96 Workers for Forming a Union

Workers at AERODESPACHOS in El Salvador sought better job safety--and 96 were fired. Photo: CEAL

The promotional website for AERODESPACHOS in El Salvador features workers loading airplanes, transporting baggage and servicing engines. Yet while the airline ground services company wants to showcase its workforce, it is unwilling to provide safe working conditions and decent wages, its employees say. And when the ground servicing crew sought to address safety and health issues by forming a union, AERODESPACHOS fired 96 employees—nearly its entire staff—to reduce the number of workers seeking to join a union and so legally disqualify their efforts.

Tell the El Salvadoran government to end its contract with AERODESPACHOS and work to reinstate the employees.

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Three Years After Haiti Earthquake, Workers Still Need Decent Jobs

Recipients of donation-funded tuition take part in a ceremony at AUMOHD, a Solidarity Center partner. Congress of Haitian Workers photo

Three years after the disastrous earthquake struck Haiti, workers and their families continue to struggle as the cost of living keeps rising while wages—for those who have jobs—remain the same. Informal discussions by the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center staff with Haitian export-processing workers this month indicate that in the past year, the cost of food and education has increased between 20% and 25%, while rent and transportation have risen between 15% and 20%.

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ILO: 52 Million in Domestic Work Worldwide

ILO photo

This is a cross-post from the AFL-CIO Solidarity Center’s Tula Connell.

Some 52 million people older than 15—primarily women—labor as domestic workers around the world, according to a report released today by the International Labor Organization (ILO). Of those, 83 percent are women. The vast number of domestic workers, 21.4 million, are in Asia and the Pacific region, with 19.6 million in Latin America, 5.2 million in Africa and 2.1 million in the Middle East.

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Human Rights Day 2012: Marking Worker Rights Worldwide

Yessica Hoyos Morales. Photo by Tula Connell.

This is an excerpt of Human Rights Day 2012: Marking Worker Rights Worldwide from the AFL-CIO's Solidarity Center. 

Nearly 3,000 trade union leaders have been murdered in Colombia over the past 20 years and the killing continues, with at least 35 unionists murdered so far this year. Yet behind each statistic is an individual, says Colombian lawyer and human rights activist, Yessica Hoyos Morales. Someone much like her father, Jorge Darío Hoyos Franco, a Colombian labor leader, who was assassinated in 2001 by two hired hit men.

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