What You Can Do
Defend Fairtrade: Ask FAIR FOR LIFE to Protect Workers
Consumers rely on certification labels to ensure the products they buy are free of human and labor rights violations. Unfortunately, this isn't always true. Take action and demand that IMO's Fair for Life certification label adopt reforms to protect workers.
This week the International Labor Rights Forum released a report (Hyperlink to Press Release) detailing how the Swiss-based Institute for Marketecology’s (IMO) Fair for Life (Hyperlink to IMO) fair trade label neglected to intervene to uphold its commitment to fair trade standards.
The report, titled Aiding and Abetting (hyperlink to report), exposes how IMO branded Theo Chocolate, a Seattle-based chocolate company, as fair trade despite being informed by Theo workers that the company had hired an anti-union consultant and was violating U.S. and international labor standards during a union organizing campaign.
When Theo workers decided to join the Teamsters, management responded with hostility, intimidation and retaliation including threatening to close the company if workers formed a union, harassing union supporters, driving several workers to leave the company, and firing at least one union supporter. Theo workers were able to convince IMO to conduct an audit post-certification, but IMO upheld Theo’s fair trade certification and told the workers that the results of the audit were confidential. IMO soon after issued new labor standards, which actually recommend employers hire consultants to talk to workers about the pros and cons of organizing – effectively justifying Theo’s actions.
These workers put their trust in fair trade standards but when Theo crushed them, IMO certified it. Join us in calling on IMO and Theo to improve stakeholder involvement and transparency as the next steps in ensuring truly fair supply chains.
Walmart: Stop Human Rights Abuses in Your Factories
In April 2012, in a factory in Thailand that processes shrimp for a major supplier to Walmart there was a revolt. 2,000 guest workers from Cambodia and Myanmar angrily protested the seizure of their passports by factory owners in Thailand. Police were called. Shots were fired. But it wasn’t just the passport seizure that incited the workers’ anger — it was management slashing wages again. Their wages already didn’t cover the most basic needs, and this action put workers deeper into the factory’s debt — it’s called debt bondage. At this moment, many of them are still legally and financially trapped at the factory, victims of human trafficking. Sign the petition to Walmart’s VP of Ethical Sourcing Rajan Kamalanathan to demand these factory owners end human trafficking immediately and allow independent monitors to audit all of their factories.
Donate to Support Bangladeshi Labor Groups in Seeking Justice
Support the organizing of Bangladeshi labor rights advocates in seeking justice following the murder of worker advocate Aminul Islam. Funds are needed to support memorial demonstrations, worker meetings, and printing of posters and leaflets.
Bangladesh: Investigate Aminul's Murder
Aminul Islam was found murdered on April 5th. His body bore signs of brutal torture. All evidence points to the likelihood of action in retaliation for his support of garment workers' right to organize. Join us in demanding a thorough and impartial investigation.
Until Fired Workers Are Reinstated: Boycott Philippine Airlines and Air Philippines
Once workers in Philippine Airlines ground crew protested the planned outsourcing of their work, they faced violent repression by police. 2,600 workers were locked-out and fired from their jobs.