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Showing blog posts by Brian Finnegan

A Global Supply Chain Still Built on Worker Misery: The Garment Industry in Bangladesh

A Global Supply Chain Still Built on Worker Misery: The Garment Industry in Bangladesh

Nearly five years after the torture and assassination of Bangladeshi labor leader Aminul Islam, the country's garment-sector employers and the government continue to persecute workers who try to exercise basic rights. In the three weeks since a December strike to protest the paltry $68 per month minimum wage, garment employers and the government have again shown their hostility toward workers and their rights. At that wage, workers in Dhaka would need to spend 60% of their income solely to rent substandard housing in a slum, leaving little to live on in a city about as expensive as Montreal (where the minimum wage is more than ten times higher).

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Workers at Global Labor Meeting Protest the Removal of Brazil's Democratically Elected President

Workers at Global Labor Meeting Protest the Removal of Brazil's Democratically Elected President

Workers from many countries this week made clear they reject the process in Brazil to remove democratically elected president Dilma Rousseff. Workers from around the world unite every June at the annual International Labor Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, to debate with governments and employers and defend workers' rights. While this year's meetings have focused on improving wages and conditions in global supply chains, worker delegations took the opportunity to make their opinions known when the interim government of Brazil's minister of labor began to address the plenary on Wednesday.

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Black Trade Unionists Call on Obama to Condemn Coup and Support Brazil’s Democratically Elected Government

Black Trade Unionists Call on Obama to Condemn Coup and Support Brazil’s Democratically Elected Government

On May 29, the 45th annual convention of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists voted unanimously to support democracy and denounce what activists around the world are calling a legislative coup in Brazil. President Dilma Rouseff, re-elected by 54 million Brazilians in 2014, was leading the fourth consecutive Workers’ Party government, whose policies had lifted more than 40 million people out of poverty in the majority black nation, the largest black country outside of Africa.

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AFL-CIO Stands with Brazilian Workers and Democracy

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Over the last few months, right-wing forces in Brazil have seized the opening created by a failing economy and corruption investigations involving all political parties to suspend a democratically elected president. The politicians leading the effort to remove the president are implicated in multimillion-dollar scandals. Ironically, there are no corruption or other criminal charges against the president, Dilma Rousseff.

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Family and Allies of Berta Cáceres Remember Her Life and Continue Her Struggle

Family and Allies of Berta Cáceres Remember Her Life and Continue Her Struggle

Like many who speak up in Honduras, indigenous leader Berta Cáceres was murdered for her activism. She was repeatedly threatened and eventually murdered just before midnight on March 2. Since 1993, Cáceres worked to build a democratic, just and sustainable Honduras. More than a month after her assassination, there is little reason to believe that the Honduran government is handling the investigation properly or addressing the causes of this and many other acts of violence against human rights defenders. As a reminder to those in positions of power to bring justice to Honduras, and in Berta’s honor, the Cáceres family, movement leaders and allies of COPINH, the organization she founded, marched yesterday in Washington, D.C., from the World Bank to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

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Honduran Leader Berta Cáceres Murdered in the Midst of a Life of Defending Her Community

In her life and in her death at the hands of assassins this week, Berta Cáceres, a leader in Honduran struggles for social justice, exemplifies the difficult choices that so many Central American communities have faced over the past 40 years. When the region was torn by Cold War struggles and civil war, Cáceres' family gave shelter and support to those fleeing the violence in El Salvador. As a tenuous peace was achieved, and many Hondurans faced poverty and violations of their rights, she went on to study and emerged as a leader for the rights of the Lenca people to stay on their land and sustain their rural communities, rather than migrate to cities that have become some of the most violent in the world or to the United States seeking safety and opportunity for decent work and better lives for their children.

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How the Colombian Government Keeps Afro-Colombians Poor

Photo courtesy Ronald Dueñas on Flickr

The country's armed conflict has been used by the Colombian government for decades to systematically deny basic labor and human rights. This crisis disproportionately impacts the Afro-Colombian population. A recent trade union delegation to the nation documented how Afro-Colombians have been excluded from economic growth. Despite acknowledging the persistence of racial discrimination and the historic causes of the marginalization, poverty and vulnerability experienced by Afro-Colombians, the government has not taken effective action to address these systemic problems.

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