Sunday, November 11, 2012

North Carolina's Tobacco Workers Stand to Benefit From State's Strong Farmworker Union

by David Bacon, TruthoutOctober 29, 2012

The occupational hazards, poor working and living conditions, and low wages North Carolina's tobacco workers face result from deliberate policies, but they can be meliorated by unionization and the freedom for laborers to shop their skills around.

North Carolina has one of the lowest percentages of union members in the country. Yet in this non-union bastion, thousands of farmworkers, some of the country's least unionized workers, belong to the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC). That gives the state a greater percentage of unionized farmworkers than almost any other.

The heart of FLOC's membership here are the 6,000 workers brought to North Carolina with H2-A work visas every year to pick the cucumbers that wind up in the pickle jars sold in supermarkets by the Mt. Olive Pickle Company. [...]

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Haiti: Hidden Costs of the Industrial Zone

The displacement of local farmers to build the Caracol Industrial Park neatly exemplifies the "economic development" programs the United States and international institutions regularly promote in Haiti.

by David L. Wilson, World War 4 Report
November 7, 2012

On Oct. 22 Haitian president Michel Martelly hosted the official opening of the Caracol Industrial Park, a 617-acre tax-exempt factory complex in Haiti's rural northeastern corner that promoters say will bring as many as 65,000 jobs to the country.

The Haitian president was joined by an array of foreign officials and celebrities. The United States, which invested $124 million in the project, was represented by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). Another guest, former US president Bill Clinton, now the United Nations special envoy for Haiti, was a major promoter of the Caracol facility. [...]

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Photo of Oct. 8 workers' rally outside the Port-au-Prince industrial park, courtesy of Marty Goodman/Socialist Action.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Haiti: A Tale of Two Cities

Haiti Grassroots Watch/Ayiti Kale Je
September 24, 2012

Port-au-Prince, 24 September 2012 – One city was built just last year. A project costing over US$2 million. Dozens of brightly painted new homes, scattered across a two-hectare site. But they are empty. Some have been vandalized… and worse. The scene is desolate and sometimes disgusting. But the project’s backers say it was a “success.”

The other city is the “heart of the nation,” Port-au-Prince’s downtown. Despite hundreds of thousands dollars spent on plans and conferences, it remains dirty, disorganized, and un-reconstructed. The government is starting to build its own buildings, but what is everyone else supposed to do?

To learn more: A Tale of Two Cities

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hot and Crusty Workers to Return to Work under New Ownership after 55-Day Picket

Laundry Workers Center press release
October 26, 2012


CONTACT: Nastaran Mohit (914)557-6408,
CONTACT: Virgilio (347)394-8350,

Hot and Crusty Workers to Return to Work under New Ownership after 55-Day Picket against Store Closure; Unions Demands Met With Precedent-Setting 3-Year Contract

New York, NY, October 26, 2012—Ending a 2-month long public campaign to protest an August 31st closure of the 63rd street Hot and Crusty, workers announced today that they have come to a final agreement with the new ownership of the store, following several weeks of negotiations with investors Anthony Illuzzi and David Kay. [...]

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