Posted on November 26, 2013 by dcampbell1
A review by Duane Campbell
The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration by David Bacon is a well written, well informed book that explains political and economic currents shaping the US immigration experience.
The U.S. public is engaged in a sustained and divisive debate over immigration. Unfortunately, at the same time , most U.S. do not recognize that U.S. economic policy, particularly NAFTA created many of the conditions that produce the very immigration of some 8 million people that many on the Right and the Tea Party so oppose.
The passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994 accelerated a neo-liberal form of economic growth in Mexico that drove poor farmers, particularly in the indigenous south to lose their farms and their livelihood. In response young men, and increasingly the young women, made the dangerous trek to the U.S. in search of work and an income to feed their families and keep their families from losing their farms. (more…)
Filed under: Book Reviews, Fair Trade, Global organizing, Immigrant Workers, Solidarity | Tagged: Cananea, David Bacon, Mexican migration, Mexico, NAFTA, North American Free Trade Agreement, Smithfield Foods, United States | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 1, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Stan Sorscher
The U.S. is negotiating two huge problematic trade agreements — one with Europe (TTIP), and another with countries around the Pacific (TTP). Both dramatically extend the NAFTA model.
First, I am 100 percent in favor of trade. Everyone I know wants good trade policies that raise living standards around the world. Equally, I oppose bad trade policies that weaken civil society and harm communities.
In simple terms, trade agreements are about trade — exports and imports. However, these trade agreements also serve as political, social, cultural and moral documents, which set political and social standards for countries and communities.
These trade agreements regulate countries in the same way that our Constitution regulates Congress, our courts, the president, and our state governments. However, the substance — the values — in our Constitution are very different from values expressed in trade agreements.
Our Constitution grants extensive political rights and social protections to people and communities. Our Constitution never mentions corporations — not once. (more…)
Filed under: Economy, Fair Trade, Politics | Tagged: TIPP, TPP | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 25, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
In 2001, China joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). America’s workers have felt the consequences ever since.
A new report from the Economic Policy Institute examines the primary result in the United States of China’s entry into the WTO, a massive increase in the trade deficit between the two countries, favoring China. The report’s author, Robert E. Scott, concludes that the trade deficit with China drives down wages and benefits in the United States and eliminates good jobs for U.S. workers.
Here are nine facts from the study you might not know about.
Filed under: Economy, Fair Trade | Tagged: China, Economic Policy Institute, Fair Trade, WTO | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 3, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
By Bruce Vail
New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority refused to change its plans to spend $34 million on Chinese steel to repair the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. (Zepfanman / Flickr / Creative Commons)
An explosion of anger this summer from labor leaders and elected officials about a contract to import Chinese steel for bridge repairs in New York City has fizzled out in the face of stubborn insistence by local transportation officials that U.S-produced steel is just too expensive.
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), who is in charge of the project to repair the landmark Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, came into contention with the United Steel Workers when it revealed it was spending an estimated $34 million to buy specialized steel products from the China Railway Shanhaiguan Bridge Group and the Anshan Iron & Steel Group. USW President Leo Gerard went so far as to describe the decision as “anti-American.” Despite the USW’s repeated calls to use U.S.-manufactured metal in the renovation project instead of 15,000 tons of Chinese steel, MTA officials have flatly rejected any proposed changes to their plan. (more…)
Filed under: Fair Trade | Tagged: infrastructure | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 28, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Jjuly 24, 2013 The US Department of Labor has listed Vietnam’s garment industry as using forced child labor. This means suppliers to US federal government bodies must not supply made-in-Vietnam garment unless they prove that such garment do not use forced child labor.
“More than isolated cases of forced child labor in garment production”
In its Final Determination dated 15th July, in a process lasting nearly a year since the initial public notice in September 2012, the US DoL report wrote:
“[T]here are more than isolated cases of forced child labor in garment production. These cases predominately occur in small, unregistered workplaces..ILAB [Bureau of International Labor Affairs] research in 2008 and 2009 revealed a trend of forced child labor in the sector. Further ILAB research in 2011 and 2012 revealed additional recent and ongoing cases of forced child labor in the garment industry, confirming earlier research.”
Vietnam’s labor ministry and the state-run industry association VTAS made 3 submissions, variously denouncing that the report was based on “unofficial” sources, giving implied threats that the ban would “negatively affect ties”, and claiming that cases cited by the US are scattered among small enterprises.
Filed under: Fair Trade, Solidarity | Tagged: child labor, Committee to Protect Viet Workers, Vietnam | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 13, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Violent Displacement of Unionists Up, Death Threats Unabated — a Grim Contrast to Promises Made by Obama Administration in Promoting Colombia FTA Passage
WASHINGTON, D.C. — John Kerry must use his first visit to Colombia as secretary of state to demand an end to the violence against unionists that he claimed the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would stop, Public Citizen said today.
“Kerry not only supported the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement over the opposition of labor unions in both countries, but was among the loudest voices claiming that it would help to reverse the horrific violence in Colombia against unionists,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “Now that he is uniquely positioned as America’s top diplomat and given the sorry record during the agreement’s first year, what will he do to obtain real change?”
The number of Colombian union members violently displaced from their homes (PDF) has increased and death threats against unionists have remained appallingly high since the FTA was implemented in May 2011, according to the Escuela Nacional Sindical (ENS). These data are aligned with the repeated warnings from unions and labor rights advocates about the risk of continued violence under the Colombia FTA.
Filed under: Fair Trade | Leave a Comment »
Posted on June 17, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Stan Sorscher
We need to think differently about trade.
First, let me say that I am 100% in favor of trade. Trade is when we do what we do best, they do what they do best, and we trade. Trade, done right, will raise living standards.
If trade is good, then free trade must be better, right? So consider this old joke about “free trade.”
- It’s not free.
- It’s not trade.
Twenty years after NAFTA we can add that it doesn’t work. It’s bad for millions of workers, families and communities around the world.
“Free trade” is not free. Our free trade policy encourages production to leave the country. We’ve lost millions of manufacturing jobs. More than 60,000 manufacturing plants were closed between 2000 and 2010 as production moved overseas. These costs are real.
Filed under: Fair Trade | Tagged: Fair Trade, Free Trade, NAFTA, TPP, Trans-Pacific Partnership | Leave a Comment »
Posted on May 25, 2013 by paulgarver
by Paul Garver
Mondelez International, the global corporation that is the object of the protest by American workers in this image, is not a household name. But its portfolio includes several billion-dollar brands such as Cadbury and Milka chocolate, Jacobs coffee, LU, Nabisco and Oreo biscuits, Tang powdered beverages and Trident gum. Mondelez International, until recently called Kraft Foods, Inc., has annual revenues of approximately $36 billion and operations in more than 80 countries.
This recent protest at its annual shareholders’ meeting in Chicago, comprised largely of members of Local 1 of the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), was led by Ron Oswald, the general secretary of the IUF (International Union of Food Workers). The BCTGM was joining with food workers’ unions around the world in supporting Mondelez workers in Egypt, Tunisia, and Pakistan, whose unions were facing repression from Mondelez corporate management. Mondelez employs some 100,000 workers throughout the world. Almost all of its unionized workers are members of unions affiliated internationally to the IUF. (more…)
Filed under: Busting the union busters, Fair Trade, Global organizing, Low wage workers, Organizing, Strikes and work action, Uncategorized | Tagged: BCTGM, Egypt, IUF, Kraft Foods, Mondelez, Pakistan, Screamdelez, Tunisia | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 23, 2013 by dcampbell1
A coalition of faith organizations, investors and labor groups—including the AFL-CIO—is urging major U.S. retailers, including Walmart, Gap, Sears and others, to sign on to a binding workplace and fire safety plan to prevent tragedies such as the recent building collapse in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,100 garment workers and two 2012 fires that claimed the lives of more than 400 Bangladeshi clothing workers.
The Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) wrote that those disasters are:
A grave indictment of the human rights record of Bangladesh and an illustration of the failure of the global companies that manufacture and source their products there to ensure humane working conditions. (more…)
Filed under: Fair Trade, Global organizing, Organizing, Solidarity | Tagged: AFL-CIO, Bangladesh, Bangladeshi, Fire Safety, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Occupational safety and health, Sears, Walmart | 3 Comments »
Posted on April 27, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Paul Garver
The factory caught fire about 6 p.m. After the fire, they did not allow us to go out,” says Nazma. “They locked the gate. The workers were screaming together.” Nazma is among the survivors of the Tazreen Fashion factory fire in Bangladesh that killed 112 workers in November. Nazma and others describe the unsafe and deadly working conditions at Tazreen—conditions similar to those many Bangladesh garment workers face every day. Solidarity Center staff in Dhaka, Bangladesh, compiled this report.
Five months later, more than 300 garment workers were killed and 2000 injured by the collapse of the Rana Plaza building near Dhaka that housed five garment factories producing for American and European markets. This man-made tragedy only underscores the futility of “corporate social responsibility” initiatives that merely provide fig leafs for global corporations who disdain responsibility for the atrocious conditions under which their profitable goods are produced. (more…)
Filed under: Fair Trade, Global organizing, Labor History, Low wage workers, Organizing, Solidarity, Uncategorized, Video, Women, workplace safety | Tagged: Bangladesh, garment workers, Tazreen Fashion fire | Leave a Comment »