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International Women’s Day: It’s About Women’s Wages & Women’s Voices

Many versions abound about how International Women’s Day came to be, but all stories lead back to 1908 when 15,000 women marched through New York City protesting violence against garment workers and demanding better pay, better working conditions and voting rights.  Their slogan was Bread and Roses – signifying the need for better wages and a better quality of life.  In 1909 women workers marched again in Chicago, officially kick-starting a National Women’s Day.

KMU slams death threat vs. Mindanao labor leader

National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today the contractor of a Japanese banana company for harassing and issuing a death threat against a union leader in southern Mindanao.

Vicente Barrios, president of the Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farm (Namasufa-National Federation of Labor Unions-KMU), was fired upon and held at gunpoint by Jesus Jamero, contractor of Japanese banana company Sumifru.

Police and employers together threaten union activists for organizing brick kiln workers in Bhilwara Rajasthan

Madan Vaishnav, Secretary, Rajasthan Pradesh Int Bhatta Majdoor Union, along with three other union organizers – Shanti Lal Meena, Ratan Lal Bheel, and Shaitan Singh Raigar – was served a notice by the Sub Division Officer Mandal under Section 107/116 restraining him from undertaking provocative activities viz. organizing brick kiln workers. Mandal town has almost 100 brick kilns in its vicinity mostly employing inter-state seasonal migrants from UP and Bihar.

Burmese workers in Thailand organize, negotiate and win!

Protestors shutting down Bangkok to force the current government from power have grabbed international headlines this week. Meanwhile, efforts for a quieter revolution to improve the power dynamic between millions of migrant workers and their Thai employers took a significant step forward an hour south of Bangkok in Samut Sakhorn, one of the primary seafood processing areas in Thailand.

How the U.S. Government Can Follow Its Own Advice to Be a Responsible Consumer

Today, the New York Times reports child labor, blocked fire exits, unsafe buildings, forced overtime and a range of other illegal, unsafe, and abusive conditions for garment workers in factories in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Haiti, Mexico, and Thailand.  These factories have at least one thing in common: the United States government is a customer.

Bangladesh garment factory crisis is a women's crisis

The crisis in the Bangladesh Apparel industry is really a women’s issue and something all advocates of women’s rights and equality should be deeply concerned about. To be clear, we are not talking here about individual cases of discrimination at work and the need for more equitable labor justice – although there is a need for improving that as well.

Workers Give Message to RSPO: Don’t Certify Abuse!

Medan, Indonesia—This week hundreds of oil palm workers and their allies crashed the 11th annual meeting of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a multi-stakeholder organization that promotes “sustainable” palm oil, to protest the organization’s failure to uphold its own labor standards. 

Arriving in colorful rain jackets on motorbikes and small pick-ups, the protesters braved a torrential downpour to deliver a blunt message to the RSPO: Stop certifying worker exploitation.

PALEA Back as Regular Workers in Pact with PAL

The union Philippine Airlines Employees' Association (PALEA) hailed a settlement agreement signed today with the management of Philippine Airlines (PAL) that provides for the re-employment of some 600 members as regular workers. In a private ceremony in a downtown hotel in Mandaluyong at noon, officers of PAL and PALEA signed the agreement.

ILRF Loses Leading Child Rights Advocate

All of us at ILRF were tremendously saddened to learn that U. Roberto Romano – our beloved Robin – passed away at his home last week. Robin was a tireless advocate for children’s rights, as well as an inspiring and supportive colleague. He was also an amazing cinematographer and highly acclaimed filmmaker, who dedicated his life to reporting on and exposing the exploitation of children.

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