Tim Newman, Campaigns Assistant, International Labor Rights Forum
The leaders of the Firestone Agricultural Workers Union of Liberia (FAWUL) and two other leading Liberian labor rights advocates are in Washington, DC this week. Last night, FAWUL received the George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award from the AFL-CIO. If you are in the Washington, DC area, you can meet the workers in person TONIGHT (Thursday, June 26th) at a public event sponsored by TransAfrica Forum. Keep reading for the event details!
TransAfrica Forum Arthur R. Ashe, Jr. Foreign Policy Library presents a
Viewpoint Lecture Series Discussion with
Liberian Labor Leaders on Economic Justice and the Rights of Workers in Liberia
WHEN: TONIGHT! Thursday, June 26, 2008; 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
WHERE: TransAfrica Forum, 1629 K Street NW, #1100 Washington, DC, 20006
Join TransAfrica in welcoming:
- Mr. Austin S. Natee, the President of the Firestone Agricultural Workers Union of Liberia
- Mr. Edwin B. Cisco, Secretary General of the Firestone Agricultural Workers Union of Liberia (FAWUL) and National Coordinator in Liberia for the Swedish Pan African Trade Union Education Project (PANAF) of the LO/TCO based in Sweden
- Mr. David D. Sackoh the Secretary General of the Forestry, Logging and Industrial Workers' Union of Liberia and the Director for Education and Information at the Liberia Labor Congress (LLC), the labor federation in Liberia.
- Ms. Oretha D. Garway, the Vice President of the Forestry, Logging and Industrial Workers Union of Liberia
Background: The living and working conditions at the Firestone Rubber Plantation, one of the world’s largest rubber plantations, are brutal, with management routinely violating basic human rights. Rubber tappers work 14-hour days to meet impossible production quotas, which require them to tap 750 rubber trees and to accumulate 150 pounds of latex daily. Pay amounts to little more than $3 a day and a monthly 100-pound bag of subsidized rice if quotas are met. Tappers walk for miles with more than 75 pounds of rubber in metal buckets on their backs, and the company fails to provide them with basic safety equipment.
On July 7, 2007, for the first time
in the company’s 82-year existence in Liberia, the more than 4,000 workers
at the Firestone Rubber Plantation Company elected union leaders in a free and
fair election. International observers, including representatives of the
United Steelworkers (USW) and the Solidarity Center of the AFL-CIO monitored the
election at the invitation of an Ad Hoc Election Commission created by the
Liberian government. International civil society—trade
unions, labor rights groups, environmental groups, think tanks, and Africanist
organizations—supported FAWUL’s struggle to organize and support justice for
Liberian Firestone workers in a true example of international solidarity.
TransAfrica Forum’s Viewpoint Lecture Series: Perspectives from Africa and the Diaspora undertakes in-depth examinations of contemporary issues integral to an informed appreciation for the political and socioeconomic fabric of Africa and the Diaspora. For more information call 202.223.1960 ext. 137 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.