In the News

These 5 Crops Are Still Hand-Harvested, And It's Hard Work

National Public Radio
09/01/2014

Mechanization has made the farming of many crops — lettuce and tomatoes among them — a lot less labor intensive. But some crops are still tended and harvested by hand, and it can be painstaking work.

How do you measure the labor intensity of crops? We thought there would be an easy answer to that, but there isn't. Some agricultural economists talk about labor input in terms of hours per acre, but that may not take into account the difficulty of the labor.

Western Firms React to Burmese Slave Labor Accusations in Thailand

Irrawaddy
06/25/2014

A US human rights group is calling on major Western food retailing companies to put pressure on businesses in Thailand after a major Thai conglomerate was linked to allegations of trafficking and slave labor involving Burmese migrants.

The call for action comes from the Washington-based International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) following an investigation into Thailand’s fishing industry, which employs thousands of Burmese migrant workers.

Groups say Thailand should face U.S. sanctions over trafficking

Reuters
05/09/2014
(Reuters) - Thailand should be liable to potential U.S. sanctions for failing to crack down on trafficking in migrant workers, a group of human rights and labor organizations said on Friday.
 
In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, 19 organizations, including Human Rights Watch and the American Federation of Labor, said Thailand "does not meet the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, nor is it taking real steps to meet those standards."
 

The struggles to unionize workers in Bangladesh

Marketplace Morning Report
05/07/2014

It's just over a year since a clothing factory collapsed in Bangladesh, which caused the death of more than 1,000 people.  

The complex tragedy has brought some changes to safety conditions in places that may have manufactured many kinds of affordable clothing Americans buy and wear, but what has gotten less attention is a change in the law that lets employees form a union without the permission of their employer.

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