Last week, in an effort to pursue long-delayed justice, three of America's largest law firms filed lawsuits against Signal International on behalf of many of these men, and at least five more major law firms have agreed to represent many more. In an unprecedented pro bono collaboration, the firms will collectively represent more than 200 former guest workers in these suits, which charge that the men were subjected to forced labor and fraud that rose to the level of racketeering and human trafficking.
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.
Human trafficking thrives in an environment of worker exploitation and engenders forced labor, debt bondage and other egregious labor abuse. The most effective way to address this scourge, says Neha Misra, Solidarity Center senior specialist on migration and human trafficking, is by empowering workers to have a voice in their workplace and supporting their right to organize and join unions.
Facing death threats for her work as a Mexican labor rights activist, Blanca Velásquez left the country earlier this month and suspended her two-year legal battle with the Mexican government over ongoing harassment and threats against workers in Puebla, Mexico.
In May, human rights defender José Enrique Morales Montaño, who worked with Velásquez at the Center of Support for Workers (CAT), was kidnapped by four masked men and physically tortured for 16 hours before being released. Other employees at CAT have received death threats, and the organization’s e-mail has been hacked in a cycle of harassment that began in December 2010. That month, Velasquez found a threatening message scrawled across her office wall: “No saben con quien metes” (“You don’t know who you’re messing with”).
Imagine if you were a child and living in constant fear of losing your parents.
For many children of aspiring citizens, potential loss of one or both parents is a day-to-day reality. Deportations can force children into foster care when their parents are shipped out of the country and leave single mothers struggling to make ends meet.
A new Center for American Progress report highlights how deportations break up families and negatively affect the entire community.
The Olympic medals handed out at this summer's Olympic Games in London may be shiny and pretty on the outside but the inside story of the union-busting conglomerate that will manufacture the medals is ugly.
Ninety-four U.S. representatives and seven senators expressed concern March 12 to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton over the deteriorating human rights situation in Honduras. In “Dear Colleague” letters, prompted by 10 labor organizations representing nearly 15 million members, the members of Congress raised Honduras’ systemic, continuing human rights violations with Clinton.
The letters say more than 300 people, including 18 journalists, have been the victims of politically related killings since the 2009 Honduran coup and remind Clinton that the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 requires the State Department to determine and report back to Congress whether the Honduran military is investigating military and police personnel accused of human rights violations.
The 2012 George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award will honor the Tunisian General Union of Labor (UGTT) and the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBTU)—two unions whose struggles over the past year are emblematic of labor’s role in the Arab uprisings, the AFL-CIO Executive Council announced at its annual winter meeting in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Sarah Seltzer writes for Alternet and other online publications and sends us this. Follow Sarah on Twitter.
As the AFL-CIO documented in a study, the situation for immigrants in Alabama has grown increasingly dire: A “humanitarian crisis” has resulted from a Draconian anti-immigration law, HB 56, one of the nation’s harshest.