Tim Newman, Campaigns Assistant, International Labor Rights Forum
This the third in an occasional blog series highlighting how workers and unions around the world are analyzing the global economic crisis and fighting for economic justice.
Last week, the ICEM held a meeting in Nashville, TN of world rubber union leaders. You can check out a summary of the meeting here. Union leaders from all over the world, including the leaders of the union on the Firestone rubber plantation in Liberia, participated and a major part of the agenda was understanding our the global economic crisis is affecting the rubber industry and how unionists can work together. Fabio Lins from Brazil’s CNQ/CUT union in Brazil put it well when he said, "Trade unions need to be at the vanguard of developing a new model that guarantees globalization of rights, an agenda to decrease poverty, and to better regulate the financial sector." This report released as part of the conference gives an overview of the current state of workers and the world rubber industry.
Argentina, England, Ireland, Canada, France, Poland and the US
Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis wrote this great article for The Huffington Post in advance of their event in New York City featuring UE workers from Chicago and representatives of cooperatives in Argentina titled "Fire the Bosses: The Worker Control Solution from Buenos Aires to Chicago." The article gives an excellent overview of how workers are fighting layoffs in the wake of the economic crisis in Argentina, England, Ireland, Canada, France, Poland and the US.
On May 15, 350,000 people protested in the streets of Madrid, Brussels, Berlin and Prague calling for European governments to take stronger action to stop unemployment and support workers. The demonstrations were organized by the European Trade Union Confederation.
The Pan-European Regional Council Women's Committee of the ITUC also held an important workshop with union representatives from Bulgaria, Romanian, Serbia, Turkey and Poland, along with the ILO, about the impact of the economic crisis on women workers.
A new report from the Center for Trade Union and Workers' Services (CTUWS) analyzes the latest impact of the economic crisis on Egypt as well as the government's response. The report also includes information on how workers have responded to layoffs.
New York City
From June 1 through 3, the United Nations will hold a conference on the world financial and economic crisis and its impact on development. Prior to the UN Conference, civil society organizations including unions will hold a People's Voices on the Crisis event in New York City on May 30th to give grassroots groups an opportunity to speak out on how the crisis is affecting their communities.
Workers at Hartmarx in Chicago, who make high quality suits -- including some for President Obama!, are possibly facing job loss because the company is in bankruptcy. Hartmarx's creditor, Wells Fargo, got bail-outs from US taxpayers, but now they might be liquidating the company leaving thousands of workers unemployed. Workers are prepared to occupy their plants if the company is liquidated by Wells Fargo. Click here to join Jobs With Justice in telling Wells Fargo to ensure that the company is not shut down.