Last week, more than 100 people gathered outside the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), which is housed in the World Bank in Washington, D.C. Inside, three individuals sat down to decide whether or not the government of El Salvador will be forced to hand over $300 million to a mining corporation for prioritizing community needs and clean water over a gold mine.
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.
Pacific Rim Cayman LLC, the mining company determined to extract gold along the banks of El Salvador’s Lempa River, has failed in its attempt to use the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) to force the Salvadoran government to allow it to mine in the region. El Salvador has opposed Pacific Rim’s plans because the process threatens cyanide leakage into the Lempa River, whose basin covers 49 percent of the territory of El Salvador and is the main water source for a majority of the nation’s population.
The ambassadors of El Salvador, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic joined Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis today to sign a historic partnership to protect the labor rights of migrant workers from these countries who are employed in the United States.