Labor

THIS IS A PAGE ABOUT LABOR & HUMAN RIGHTS

The CEOs of three-quarters of the world's 100 largest companies have just completed an uncomfortable weekend at the tiny Swiss ski resort of Davos, while their companies' share prices nosedived on global stock markets, amid concern that the U.S. economy is staggering towards recession.
Some western companies have begun to recognize it might be in their interest to operate under enforceable standards that apply to all their competitors, rather than under voluntary ones that, for all practical purposes, apply only to prominent companies.
The situation casts light on the low-tech backbone of a high-tech project -- the casual laborers who are rounded up by subcontractors, sometimes bused across state borders to job sites and set to work digging ditches. Predominantly Hispanic, they work with few guarantees and often no benefits, and they typically are hesitant to come forward with problems, according to lawyers and advocacy groups.
The guild representing Hollywood writers has disclosed that more than 75 percent of the scribes on TV reality shows have signed cards asking to be represented by the union.
Mordechai Orian, president of Global Horizons, a Los Angeles-based labor recruiter, was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for "engaging in a conspiracy to commit forced labor and document servitude" of some 400 Thai citizens who were brought to work on farms in the U.S.
In a glimpse at how the nation's loss of more than 600,000 manufacturing jobs this year is boiling over, workers laid off from Republic Windows and Doors, said they would not leave, after company officials announced that the factory was closing. The workers were owed vacation and severance pay and were not given the 60 days of notice generally required by federal law in lay-offs.
In recent years, companies from Intel Corp. to CenturyTel Inc. collectively have moved hundreds of millions of dollars of obligations for executive benefits into rank-and-file pension plans. This lets companies capture tax breaks intended for pensions of regular workers and use them to pay for executives' supplemental benefits and compensation.
Imperial Sugar, the owner of a refinery near Savannah where 13 workers died in a sugar dust explosion in February, knew of safety hazards at the plant as early as 2002 but did nothing, and should pay more than $8.7 million for safety violations, the head of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration said Friday.
Ten years after the first democratic elections in South Africa brought the African National Congress to power, critics claim that privatization and neoliberal economic policies have usurped the promise of democracy. Soweto Resists Privatization Moves Trevor Ngwane/Walter TurnerANC Privatizations Fail to Deliver in South Africa, Patrick Bond
Was your Microsoft Windows 95 packed and shrink-wrapped by a Washington State prisoner? According to one prisoner who works for Exmark, a company specializing in product packaging, approximately 90 prisoners at the Twin Rivers Correctional Center (TRCC) in Monroe shrink-wrapped 50,000 units of Windows 95.