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 »
Posted on April 26, 2013 by paulgarver
IndustriALL Global Union
The worst ever industrial accident in Bangladesh has killed more than 200 garment workers with fears of a final death toll reaching 1,000 as hundreds remain injured and trapped in the debris.
“Cut off my hand, save my life!” screams a woman trapped under the collapsed eight-story Rana Plaza building in Savar, 30 kilometres outside Dhaka. The same request is shouted by trapped Aftab, while other screams in the rubble demand oxygen. 200,000 local people have assembled in Savar offering to donate blood to the rescue effort, as hospitals are gravely under supplied.
The mass industrial manslaughter occurred at 9am, 24 April. The collapsed building, illegally constructed, contained five garment factories with 2,500 workers. Those five factories are Ether Tex, New Wave Bottoms, New Wave Style, Phantom Apparels and Phantom-TAC. These factories are believed to have produced for several well-known western brands including Mango, Primark, C&A, KIK, Wal-Mart, Children’s Place, Cato Fashions, Benetton, Matalan and Bon Marché.
Filed under: Fair Trade, Global organizing, Low wage workers, Organizing, Solidarity, Women, workplace safety | Tagged: Bangladesh, garment workers, IndustriALL Global Union, Rana Plaza | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 29, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
A Conference Welcoming All Women in the Trades and Women in the Industry from Everywhere.
The April 6-7 conference in Sacremento will be the third national all-craft tradeswomen conference held in the U.S. since 2001. Over 600 Tradeswomen broke the record for attendance in 2011. In 2012, 520 Tradeswomen attended, from 26 States and Canada as well as Namibia, Curacao and Switzerland. The official conference sponsors are the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO and the California Building Trades Council. In addition, several international unions are making donations to support the conference.
Filed under: Conferences and Events, Women | Tagged: Women Building the Nation, women in the trades | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 19, 2013 by dcampbell1
by Duane Campbell
DSA Honorary Chair Dolores Huerta will be inducted into the California Hall of Fame (2013) for her labor and community leadership. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.
Huerta’s influence has been profound since the founding along with Cesar Chaves, Philip Vera Cruz and others of the United Farm Workers (UFW) union, through her current work in supporting union democracy, civic engagement and empowerment of women and youth in disadvantaged communities. The creation of the UFW changed the nature of labor organizing in the Southwest and contributed significantly to the growth of Latino politics in the U.S. In her frequent public engagements at college, universities and high schools she brings a Latina feminist perspective to civil rights and immigration issues. Dolores has been a supporter on union picket lines throughout the state. (more…)
Filed under: Immigrant Workers, Labor History, Politics, Women | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 8, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
March 7, 2013—Although post-apartheid South Africa has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world and women comprise more than 40 percent of Parliament, the country also has high rates of gender-based violence, including “excessive rates of female homicides,” according to the World Health Organization.
Most recently, the brutal rape and murder of 17-year-old Anene Booysen in February and other high-profile killings have brought the issue of gender-based violence to national attention. Two men have been arrested for the death of Booysen, who worked at a construction company in a small rural town southeast of Cape Town, South Africa.
Around the world, in their homes and at the workplace, women are highly likely to experience violence—up to seven in ten women globally will be beaten, raped, abused or mutilated in their lifetimes. This March 8, International Women’s Day, activists across the globe are focusing on ending violence against women—and in South Africa, working women and their unions are among the leaders in events across the nation.
Filed under: Women | Tagged: Congress of South African Trade Unions, COSATU ), Federation of Unions of South Africa, FEDUSA, International Labor Organization, ITUC, South Africa | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 8, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
March 6, 2013—In Honduras, a country where women laboring in fruit packing plants and textile factories endure especially difficult conditions, two union leaders are empowering women to take on important roles in their unions and their communities.
Irís Munguía began toiling at a banana packing plant at age 18, living on the banana finca (plantation) as a condition of employment. After 22 years at the plant, the longtime union activist now heads the Honduran banana and agricultural worker confederation, COSIBAH (Coordinadora Sindicatos Bananeros y Agroindustrales de Honduras), founded in 1993. Munguía also is the first female coordinator of COLSIBA, the Latin American coordinating body of agricultural unions.
Evangelina Argûeta Chinchilla also started work at a young age. At 15, she was hired at a maquila, where she toiled for nine years before being fired, likely for her work in the union. Now, Argûeta is coordinator of organizing maquila workers in the northern Choloma region for the General Workers Confederation (CGT), which includes seven unions that represent 10,200 maquila workers. (more…)
Filed under: Women | Tagged: Honduras | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 7, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
March 5, 2013—In December 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi, a 23-year-old market vendor in Tunisia, self-immolated to protest deep-seated government corruption that made it impossible for him to earn a living. Following his desperate action, Tunisian women helped spur protests and end autocratic regimes in Tunisia and throughout the Arabic-speaking world. Today, Tunisian women remain in the forefront of ensuring democratic change in their country during the difficult years of government transition.
“As far as the revolution is concerned, we can say that just one hour after the death of Mohamed Bouazizi, the opening salvo was shot by a woman who shouted in front of the municipality: ‘Where are you men?’” says Souha Miladi, a school teacher and trade union member. “Immediately afterward, protests broke in the streets, and popular anger swept all the regions and reached the capital, prompting the fall of the dictator.”
Despite longstanding legal and social protections, Tunisian women only comprised 25 percent of the working population in 2010. And they were, and are, disproportionately represented among the most impoverished. Yet, working in large part through their unions, they formed strong networks and gained crucial leadership skills that helped them recognize their economic and political stake in democratic change.
Filed under: Global organizing, Women | Tagged: Tunisia, Tunisian Labor Federation Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail, UGTT, UGTT National Committee of Women Worker | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 6, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
March 4, 2013—Women make up more than 40.5 percent of the workforce worldwide, according to the most recent data by the International Labor Organization. But their labor has not resulted in a similar increase in financial well-being.
Far from it.
Although women contribute 66 percent of the world’s work and produce 50 percent of the food, they earn 10 percent of global income and own 1 percent of property, a 2011 United National Development Program report finds. Women account for 70 percent of the world’s population living in poverty, according to 2010 UN Food and Agricultural Organization data. But as more and more join together in unions and allied networks, women are increasingly empowering themselves and each other in the struggle for economic fairness.
Filed under: Global organizing, Women | Tagged: International Women's Day | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 25, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary
(February 25) Next week, the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) will meet in New York on the issue of violence against women and girls. The ITUC urges the international community not to give in on any of the draft conclusions (Available at: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/csw57/CSW57_Draft_AC_proposal_presented_by_CSW_Bureau_8_February_2013.doc ).
Last year the Commission failed to reach agreement because of conservative governments questioning the very principle of gender equality. “This cannot happen again!” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, denouncing the current attacks on women’s rights and the cuts in budgets allocated to women’s issues.
Filed under: Conferences and Events, Women | Tagged: ITUC, UN Commission on the Status of Women, UNCSW, violence against women | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 7, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
By Sarah Jaffe
A waitress juggling plates at Big Juds Burgers in Boise forgets to smile–in some restaurants, that could endanger her job. (Kenneth Freeman/Flickr/Creative Commons)
No, that waitress isn’t flirting with you.
Neither is the barista at your local Starbucks, nor the counter server at the Pret A Manger near your office, and you might be surprised to learn that the stripper at your local club doesn’t have a deep fondness for you, either.
Pretending to love one’s work, to be overjoyed by the ability to serve you coffee or pizza or dance for your tips, is an integral part of the job for service workers. “Service with a smile” is expected from anyone who deals with customers, and as Josh Eidelson and Timothy Noah pointed out last week at The Nation and The New Republic respectively, sometimes low-wage service employers require much more.
Eidelson reported on the recent move by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to push baristas to write “Come Together” on coffee cups in support of “bipartisan” deficit fear-mongering—to “draft its employees as a delivery system for austerity.” Schultz is a supporter of the “Fix the Debt” campaign started by ultra-rich ideologues that demands spending cuts (especially on social safety net programs) in supposed service of reducing the national debt.
Filed under: Low wage workers, Women | Tagged: National Domestic Workers Alliance, Restaurant Opportunities Center, Saru Jayaraman | 3 Comments »