The discussion of how free trade agreements (FTA) do little to protect
labor rights is especially timely as Congress is debating FTAs with
Peru, Colombia and Panama. The main sticking point has been labor
provisions in the proposed agreements. Many Democrats say they won't
agree to the FTAs until language is included which requires countries
to enforce internationally accepted core labor standards and improve
their labor rights conditions.
Additionally, Bush was greeted in on his visit to Guatemala last week by protesters denouncing an immigration raid that took place in New Bedford, MA on
March 6. The raid at a sweatshop operated by Michael Bianco, Inc.
resulted in the arrest of 361 people (many of whom were immigrants from
Guatemala) and lead to roughly 100 children being disconnected from
their parents. Check out an article about it here and if you are anywhere near New Bedford, make sure to go to a protest this Saturday (March 17).
All of these events point to the fact that Bush's trade and economic
policies do little to protect labor rights. What is needed is more
worker solidarity, like that displayed by the recent protests in