In the News

Ruse in Toyland: Chinese Workers' Hidden Woe

The New York Times
12/07/2003

THE WORLD'S SWEATSHOP: THE ETCH A SKETCH CONNECTION

By JOSEPH KAHN

SHENZHEN, China — Workers at Kin Ki Industrial, a leading Chinese toy maker, make a decent salary, rarely work nights or weekends and often "hang out along the street, play Ping-Pong and watch TV."

They all have work contracts, pensions and medical benefits. The factory canteen offers tasty food. The dormitories are comfortable.

The Wal-Martization of America

New York Times Editorial
11/25/2003

The 70,000 grocery workers on strike in Southern California are the front line in a battle to prevent middle-class service jobs from turning into poverty-level ones. The supermarkets say they are forced to lower their labor costs to compete with Wal-Mart, a nonunion, low-wage employer aggressively moving into the grocery business. Everyone should be concerned about this fight. It is, at bottom, about the ability of retail workers to earn wages that keep their families out of poverty.

Grocery Unions Battle to Stop Invasion

Los Angeles Times
11/25/2003

Wal-Mart plans to open 40 of its nonunion Supercenters in California. Labor is fighting the expected onslaught, but the big retailer rarely concedes defeat.

By Nancy Cleeland and Abigail Goldman, Times Staff Writers

Inglewood seemed to offer the perfect home for a new Wal-Mart Supercenter, with low-income residents hungry for bargains and a mayor craving the sales-tax revenue that flows from big-box stores.

Mexico's Dropout Economy

Washington Post
11/24/2003

By Kevin Sullivan and Mary Jordan

ECATEPEC, Mexico -- Jesus Santana Hernandez opened his refrigerator and looked at the contents: a bottle of water and an onion. His mother was at work washing dishes in a taco joint. So it fell to Jesus, a wiry 12-year-old, to feed his three younger brothers and sisters. The onion was no help. He grabbed the water.

An Empire Built on Bargains Remakes the Working World

Los Angeles Times
11/23/2003

An Empire Built on Bargains

Remakes the Working World

Los Angeles Times

November 23, 2003

Wal-Mart is so powerful that it moves the economies of entire countries, bringing profit and pain. The prices can’t be beat, but the wages can.

By Abigail Goldman and Nancy Cleeland, Times Staff Writers

LAS VEGAS — Chastity Ferguson kept watch over four sleepy children late one Friday as she flipped a pack of corn dogs into a cart at her new favorite grocery store: Wal-Mart.

An Empire Built on Bargains

LA Times
11/23/2003

Wal-Mart is so powerful that it moves the economies of entire countries, bringing profit and pain. The prices can’t be beat, but the wages can.

By Abigail Goldman and Nancy Cleeland, Times Staff Writers

LAS VEGAS — Chastity Ferguson kept watch over four sleepy children late one Friday as she flipped a pack of corn dogs into a cart at her new favorite grocery store: Wal-Mart.

Colombia: Trade unionists face alarming resurgence in death threats and forced displacements

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions Online bulletin 154/041103
11/04/2003

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions

Online bulletin 154/041103

November 4, 2003

The ICFTU is gravely concerned at the recent and alarming resurgence in death threats against and forced displacement of trade unionists in Colombia. This climate of violence would appear to be related to the political context, which last week saw the failure of the referendum called by the head of state, as well as the rise of a new opposition force with the election of former trade unionist Luis Eduardo Garzon as mayor of Bogotá.

Too Many Brains Pack Kenya's Free Schools

Washington Post Foreign Service
10/09/2003

Lack of Teachers, Inadequate Funding Hamper Efforts

to Fulfill President's Campaign Vow

By Emily Wax

HOMA BAY, Kenya -- The tree was sprawling, its trunk thick, its shade cool. But those weren't the reasons why a cherub-faced teacher with oversized glasses and a weakness for teaching "Romeo and Juliet" in Swahili decided to move his class of 150 fifth-grade students outside.

Pages