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Here’s What We’re Reading: Tuesday Roundup

Here’s What We’re Reading: Tuesday Roundup

Here are some headlines from the working families’ news we're reading today (after the jump).

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Respecting Labor Rights Must Be Part of Building a Lasting Peace in Colombia

Respecting Labor Rights Must Be Part of Building a Lasting Peace in Colombia

With unions from the Americas and Europe, the AFL-CIO is participating in the 6th Congress of the Central Union of Workers (CUT) Colombia, the country’s largest labor federation, from Sept. 23–26. The congress takes place as Colombia moves forward with a negotiation and peace-building process to end a 50-year conflict that has killed more than 170,000 civilians. The armed conflict has been used by the government for decades to systematically deny basic labor and human rights. More than 3,000 trade unionists were murdered by paramilitary, government and armed guerilla forces for exercising fundamental labor rights since 1987. In spite of strong recent economic growth, Colombia continues to have the third highest social inequality in Latin America after the much poorer countries of Haiti and Honduras. Any sustainable solution to this long-term crisis must include respect for workers’ rights and shared prosperity. 

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More Than 100 Workers, Environmentalists and Activists Came Out to Tell Oceana Gold/Pacific Rim That El Salvador Is Not for Sale

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.

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U.S. Government Takes Historic Action to Enforce Labor Rules in Trade Agreement with Guatemala

U.S. Government Takes Historic Action to Enforce Labor Rules in Trade Agreement with Guatemala

Today, for the first time ever, the U.S. government announced that it will begin the formal consultations that are used to resolve trade disputes in the area of labor rights enforcement. The United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it will finally move forward to arbitration in the long-running dispute with the government of Guatemala regarding whether or not Guatemala is meeting the labor commitments of the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA or CAFTA). In announcing the decision, the USTR stated that the goal is to improve conditions that workers face every day.   

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New Trade Deal—TISA—Could Undermine Safety, Environmental, Workers’ Rights Regs

New Trade Deal—TISA—Could Undermine Safety, Environmental, Workers’ Rights Regs

The United States is currently negotiating a new International Services Agreement called the Trade in Services Agreement, or TISA. At the start of 2012, a number of World Trade Organization (WTO) member states, including the European Union, formed a group called the “Really Good Friends of Services” or RGF (and yes, that is really what they named themselves), with the purpose of drafting a trade agreement that would further liberalize trade and investment in services and expand regulatory disciplines on services sectors.

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Infrastructure Condition a ‘Scandal,’ Threatens U.S. Economy, says AFL-CIO Executive Council

Infrastructure Condition a ‘Scandal,’ Threatens U.S. Economy, says AFL-CIO Executive Council

To keep the United States strong and to ensure the foundation of the economy is sound, the nation’s leaders “must begin by rebuilding the infrastructure that thrust the United States into the modern era but now is out of date and falling apart,” said the AFL-CIO Executive Council in a statement approved Wednesday at its summer meeting in Washington, D.C., at the AFL-CIO headquarters. The council said:

Political gridlock has turned the United States from the nation that led every major advance in public economic development—in rail and transit, roads, sewers, utilities, aviation, shipping and so much more—into a nation that can’t find the will to lead in the 21st century. 

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Border Crisis Spurs AFL-CIO, Honduran Labor Movement to Call for Renewed Attention to Labor Rights Violations in Honduras

Border Crisis Spurs AFL-CIO, Honduran Labor Movement to Call for Renewed Attention to Labor Rights Violations in Honduras

As thousands of unaccompanied minors have arrived at the United States’ southern border in recent weeks, right-wing politicians and activists have used the refugee situation to push their anti-immigrant agendas, roll back protections for potential trafficking victims and stoke xenophobia among the general public by focusing on gang violence and disease.

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Scholars Speak Out Against Troubling 'Corporate Courts' (ISDS) in TTIP

As another round of negotiations for the U.S.–E.U. trade deal (known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP) began, 121 leading academic experts on trade, investment law, European Union (EU) law, international law, human rights, constitutional law, global political economy and related fields issued a statement expressing deep concern about the investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions that negotiators plan to include in the deal. 

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Better Ways to Bring Democracy, Workers' Rights and Opportunity to Sub-Saharan Africa

Better Ways to Bring Democracy, Workers' Rights and Opportunity to Sub-Saharan Africa

The AFL-CIO and the Solidarity Center released a new policy brief Thursday on how to improve the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and ensure that it delivers on its ambitious goals of supporting democratic governance, enhancing civil society, combating corruption and promoting the rule of law in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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The World Trade Organization Strikes Again, Undermines U.S. Law and U.S. Workers!

WSLC photo

Once again, a World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement panel has issued a decision that leaves American manufacturers—and those who work for them—behind. In two separate decisions just released (Case DS436, concerning carbon steel from India, and Case DS437, concerning solar panels and 16 other products from China), the WTO ruled that the United States had violated its WTO obligations in the manner that it applied countervailing duties on products from the two countries.

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