Workers & Human Rights

Bangladesh Garment Workers Safer after Fire Trainings

  • April 23, 2019
  • Istiak Ahmed Inam

Six years ago, the preventable Rana Plaza collapse in Bangladesh killed 1,134 garment workers in the world’s worst garment industry disaster. Corporate greed, inadequate labor and building code enforcement, and worker exploitation all contributed to the April 24, 2013, tragedy, which spurred efforts to improve factory safety and support workers seeking a voice on the… [READ MORE]

6 Years after Rana Plaza: Bangladesh Set to Backslide

  • April 17, 2019
  • Istiak Ahmed Inam

On a recent Friday, the only day off for Bangladesh garment workers—if they get a day off—I went to visit workers at their homes to better understand how the people who stitch our clothes live their lives. Walking through the puzzling narrow alleys, I entered a tin shed-like building. A corridor tore through the center… [READ MORE]

Ethiopia: Inclusive Labor Movement for Democratic Change

The democratization process that began after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in Ethiopia one year ago will run aground unless its citizens become increasingly rooted in inclusive civil society institutions, like trade unions, that are capable of overcoming deeply entrenched ethnic, cultural and geographic divisions, said Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU) President Kassahun… [READ MORE]

Teacher Protests for Decent Jobs: Key for All Moroccans

Recent massive teacher protests in Morocco demanding the government create permanent employment contracts is not an issue confined to the education sector—the extent to which decent jobs are available affects the future of the country, say leaders of the Democratic Labor Confederation (CDT). A recent government decree making it no longer possible for workers with… [READ MORE]

Why Amnesty Does Not Solve Gulf Labor, Kefala Issues

In Gulf Cooperation Council countries—Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates—amnesties for workers in irregular status are frequently declared, indicating that irregularity is a common and recurring phenomenon within the governing kefala, or work-sponsorship, system. However, even if implemented perfectly, amnesty is a temporary fix, and effective solutions to reduce the… [READ MORE]

Cornell Recognizes Solidarity Center Leader

The global crackdown on human rights, especially worker rights, coupled with rising inequality are disproportionately affecting marginalized populations around the world. At the same time, the rules are skewed to promote profit, deregulation and the expansion of corporate power over people. The answer, said Solidarity Center Executive Director Shawna Bader-Blau, is a global, social-justice labor… [READ MORE]

Sri Lanka Workers Wage Hunger Strike for Justice at Work

Some 400 workers at a factory in Sri Lanka have been on strike for more than two months, and two workers are waging a hunger strike to protest the firing of five union leaders. Workers say women have been subject to sexual abuse and other forms of gender-based violence at work, yet management is protecting… [READ MORE]

Brazil Unions Challenge Attacks on Worker, Human Rights

Following the deadly mining dam collapse in January that buried alive 186 workers and residents of the town of Brumadinho, Brazil, and concurrent legislative attacks on worker rights, unions representing members across Brazil are requesting the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) investigate and address both issues. The Vale-owned dam, which sat above Brumadinho, was… [READ MORE]

Union Women Tackle Gender-Based Violence at Work

Women trade unionists in Indonesia and in Honduras and other Central American countries who are tackling gender-based violence at work often start by changing a culture of patriarchy within their own unions, according to speakers at a Solidarity Center-sponsored panel today in New York City. “Unions in the past only focused on economic issues—gender-based violence… [READ MORE]

Thailand Migrant Rights Leader Wins Human Rights Award

Suthasinee Kaewleklai, coordinator for Migrant Workers Rights Network (MWRN) in Thailand, recently was honored for her work by the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT). “Migrant workers are among the most vulnerable and abused workers in every country,” says Kaewleklai. “Worker rights are human rights, and migrant workers are entitled to fundamental rights without… [READ MORE]