Posts by International Labor Rights Forum

Improving Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Communications with Stakeholders Must Be A Two-Way Channel


The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released its report to the Chairman of the Committee on Natural Resources, House of Representatives, last week called “Forced Labor: Better Communication Could Improve Trade Enforcement Efforts Related to Seafood.” The overall recommendation is that CBP improve its communication with stakeholders about what information is needed for enforcement actions to be taken under Section 307 of the Tariff Act.  Yet the GAO remained silent on the need for CBP to be more transparent about their decision process, the enforcement actions they take and status of the petitions filed.

Cancer cases in Korea underscore grim working conditions for women at Samsung

The higher incidence of lymphoma and leukemia cases in females, as opposed to males, seems to attest to the fact that traditional gender roles play an important factor in the recruitment practices of these companies. As the Ms article points out, at Samsung “men tend to work as engineers and managers while women generally work as line operators -where they are prone to higher chemical exposure.”

The former Samsung clean room workers and their families have recently filed a lawsuit against Korea Worker's Compensation and Welfare Service who refused to pay compensation after conducting an investigation which failed to find sufficient evidence that the cancers were work-related.

April 2010 “Sweatshop Workers Speak Out” Speaking Tour

There will also be a broader focus on public procurement which is the purchasing of goods by a government to be used in the public sector. This can include everything from fire fighter uniforms to school lunches. Governments in the US, whether it is a local, state or federal branch, can be some of the largest purchasers of manufactured goods. They need to buy uniforms and equipment for their offices, employees and schools. These purchases are usually very large and therefore the purchases are an opportunity to encourage the use of strong labor standards as a prerequisite for any business that wants to sell products to the government.

The Price of Sugar

The film focuses on the exploitation of Haitian workers on sugar plantations in the Dominican Republic.  As we will discuss tonight, labor rights abuses are widespread in the sugar industry.  Problems of child labor, forced labor, poor living conditions, low wages and long hours, unsafe working conditions, denial of the right to organize and harassment of women workers can be found on many sugar plantations.  For more information, check out these reports on the sugar industry from the ILRF.