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"Africa: Why not buy a continent this Christmas?"

The funny thing is that so many corporations are actually buying and
selling something close to this concept for Christmas this year.
Shopping for charity is the latest new thing according to such august
sources as the New York Times,
and Africa is a particularly favorite conceptual destination for
holiday shoppers, ever since the big push started by Bono and
colleagues around the 2005 G-8 summit- does anyone remember the
worldwide rock concerts in July of that year, "Live 8"?  Too bad that
according to our informal survey (of the Live 8 concert in
Philadelphia), most of the audience had no idea that the concerts were

Dole's plant closure at Splendor-Corzo: A response to economic hardship or part of an anti-union campaign?

The preferential trade deal that Ecuador has had with the US until
now may have increased employment in the local flower industry, but
those jobs are characterized by minimum-wage salaries, forced overtime,
sexual harassment and abuse, pesticide poisoning, and illegal pregnancy
testing.  The proposed new Colombia-US and Ecuador-US free trade
agreements do not include any real protections for workers’ fundamental
labor rights, and would only serve to further entrench such precarious
and inhumane conditions.  Nevertheless, on Nov 10, President Bush spoke
with President Uribe of Colombia and reassured him that he fully
supports the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement, which will be signed
on November 22nd.

Wyclef supports Haiti bill without consideration of impacts on Haitian workers

Pushing for a renewal of trade benefits without a serious look at
the negative impacts these jobs provide is very short sighted.  If
Wyclef was serious about promoting jobs that are good for Haitians, he
would consider a more nuanced approach which would force those that set
up shop in Haiti to also respect freedom of association, safe working
conditions, and a wage that will support a family.  There are currently
factory workers that struggle on a daily basis, and simply renewing the
trade rules for Haiti will do little to help improve the quality of
living for Haitians.

ILRF Engages Firestone in Journalistic Crossfire

Tim Newman from the ILRF responded to Pulliam’s column with a letter to the editor entitled “Demand Dignity for Firestone Workers in Liberia”,
published on October 16. The letter from the ILRF provoked Dan
Adomitis, President of the Firestone Natural Rubber Co., to respond to
his own letter that was published October 29 entitled “Firestone is Force for Progress and Hope in Liberia”.
Adomitis claims in his letter that Firestone does not hire workers
under the age of 18.  While Firestone may not officially "hire"

Phillippine Union Seeks Relief From On-Going Killings And Disappearances Of Its Members: Complaint Filed At ILO

Since 2001, sixty-four (64) union leaders,
members, organizers, and informal workers have been summarily executed
in the name of the “War on Terror.” An additional fifty two (52) union
members have been abducted, many of whom are feared dead. Many of the
victims were killed while participating in or organizing strikes
against the companies for which they worked. Others were killed simply
because they were community leaders seeking to help their neighbors.
The KMU, among others, has been trying to use all domestic legal means
available to stop the illegal killings of their friends and members and
have filed numerous complaints before the Philippines Human Rights

About this Blog

The Labor is Not a Commodity blog is a collaborative blog space where organizations concerned with international labor rights issues can post comments about current events in labor news.  Please see below for descriptions of the four current participants of this blog.  If you would like to contact us about the blog, please e-mail laborrights[at]ilrf.org.

Wal-Mart claims advancement in Ethical Standards Program; Events in the Phillipines Prove Otherwise

Workers at a garment
factory in the Philippines would likely be amazed to learn that the
“enhancements” Wal-Mart made to its Ethical Standards program include a
formal recognition of the right to join trade unions and bargain
collectively.  Chong Won Fashions, Inc. is located in the Cavite Export
Processing Zone, a special economic region established by the
government where already weak Filipino labor laws are watered down even
further.  Wal-Mart is currently Chong Won’s primary customer, and a
violent labor crisis that erupted at the factory last month illustrates
the total irrelevance of the retail giant’s newfound “respect” for
union rights.

Changing the World, One Chocolate Bar at a Time

ILRF has had the great privilege of participating in many, many
victories over the past two decades, including the first industry-wide
initiatives to tackle child labor through the Foul Ball campaign on
soccer balls, and our work to establish the Rugmark Foundation;
legislative victories in the form of new worker rights provisions in
the Generalized System of Preferences, the investment guarantees of the
Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and amendments to the Tariff
Act of 1930; and the landmark legal victory in the Unocal case on
behalf of forced laborers in Burma.  The day to day fights can be
frustrating and overwhelming, and it's refreshing to take a moment to

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