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%.
Bob Baugh directs the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council and chairs its Energy Task Force. He is at the United Nations climate talks with labor delegates from around the world.
After two years of exceeding expectations, a United Nations group of unions is ready to continue creating plans for jobs and addressing climate change.
At the start of this year’s conference, which is known as the 2012 COP 18, nobody thought much would happen, especially because the meeting is being held in Qatar, which leads the world in per capital carbon emissions. Qatar also represents the bloc of oil nations that tied up previous negotiations over demands concerning the potential loss of oil revenue because of a climate agreement. The host country gets to run the meeting and set the agenda for these talks.
Being employed in “decent work” sounds basic. But for millions of people around the world, it’s not a reality. When workers are jobless—or, at the other end of the spectrum, forced to toil under dangerous job conditions or for pay so low they cannot support themselves or their families, decent work is out of reach.
Each Oct. 7, World Day for Decent Work reminds all of us about the plight of these workers. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) launched Decent Work Day in 2008, and each year, the Solidarity Center and its partners in the global labor movement observe that day to bring attention to the need for decent work. As the ITUC states: “Decent work must be at the center of government actions to bring back economic growth and build a new global economy that puts people first.”
Seven current or former members of the Guatemalan banana workers’ union have been murdered since 2011. Most recently, Miguel Angel González Ramírez, a member of the Izabal banana workers’ union, was shot while he was holding his young son.
AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council Director Bob Baugh, a member of a global union delegation led by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), sends us another in a series of reports on the new round of United Nations climate change negotiations taking place now in Durban, South Africa.
AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council Director Bob Baugh, a member of a global union delegation led by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), sends us the first report on the new round of United Nations climate change negotiations taking place now in Durban, South Africa.
The 17th annual meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 17) opened in Durban with a speech by South African President Jacob Zuma that stressed the need for dialogue, green jobs and investment. As trade unionists, we are here in force to ensure that these goals are met and that any climate agreement includes workers’ voice.
As world leaders head to France for the the G-20 economic summit in Cannes, labor leaders from around the globe will gather nearby to represent the needs of the world’s workers. Among their demands is a Robin Hood tax on banks and financial institutions that would exact a nano-percentage of each financial transaction to the tune of 0.5 percent. (See video.) That’s one half of 1 percent on every bond or derivative traded, stocks sold and a host of other “financial instruments” bought and sold by the very institutions bailed out by the world’s taxpayers.
Teresa Casertano in the AFL-CIO Organizing Department’s Global Campaigns section sends us this report.
Some 50 leaders from communications and information and technology unions around the world took time out from a global conference to sign a letter to Deustche Telecom CEO Rene Obermann, demanding that Deutsche Telecom end its assault on workers’ rights at T-Mobile USA. T-Mobile USA, the largest Deutsche Telekom subsidiary, is waging a vicious anti-union campaign against workers who have chosen to join the Communications Workers of America (CWA).