United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9490 members have ratified a new collective agreement with Rio Tinto Alcan in Alma Quebec, after being locked out for six months. "We were forced to take on the third-largest mining company in the world and we won," said USW President Leo Gerard. "Many thought this was impossible, given the power imbalance, but we sent a message to the resource industry throughout the world that workers and their unions can take on huge multinational corporations to stop unjust demands."
Workers locked out of the Rio Tinto Alcan smelter in Alma, Quebec since last December have filed a complaint calling on the organizers of the London Olympic Games (LOCOG) to drop the resource firm as an official Games supplier of gold, silver and bronze for athletes' medals.
"Retailers selling cotton garments or products should know that beginning in early September, and lasting until the end of November, more than two million Uzbek children between the ages of 6 and 18 are forced to spend their days picking raw cotton," says the Retail Council of Canada (RCC) in this article the November edition of its member's magazine.
On Saturday March 8th, York University President Mamdouh Shoukri made a commitment to introduce a No Sweat licensing policy at the university by April. This promise came in response to a 45 hour sit-in by York students, members of the Sustainable Purchasing Coalition (SPC), a student group lobbying to reform York purchasing policy to more sustainable standards. If this pledge goes through as promised, York will bring the number of Canadian Universities with No Sweat policies to 17.
Threads of Justice draws attention to the exploitation that takes place in the Canadian garment industry. It uses interviews and footage to illustrate the conditions in factories and the abuse that homeworkers face. This video also looks at some actions that have taken place against sweatshops, and some examples of companies that work to ensure their products are made sweatshop free.
This CBC report explores the working conditions of garment workers in Toronto and Vancouver. It profiles two women who work in garment workshops that only employ immigrants who are unable to find work elsewhere. This video shows footage from inside the workshops and, through the stories told by the women, recreates the conditions experienced by workers.
Beyond McWorld takes a look at the ways in which governments have lost power to corporations and the movement that has emerged to challenge corporate rule. Democracy, globalization, and free trade are some of the themes covered.
Canadian t-shirt manufacturer Gildan Activewear is closing two factories in Mexico, two Montreal textile plants and a cutting operation in New York. An estimated 1,365 Mexican and 465 Canadian and U.S. workers will be laid off. Workers at the Mexican factories were particularly hard hit, as the region is already reeling from Hanesbrands' laying-off of 1,700 workers in December 2006. With MSN’s assistance, our local Mexican partner organization in Monclova, SEDEPAC, put forward a series of proposals to Gildan.
The Ethical Trading Action Group's proposal for factory disclosure regulations gets the cold shoulder from Canada's Industry Minister.