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Exploited Labor: News & Updates

News Article

The Northeast Ohio Worker Center (NEOWC) and the Young Latino Network have partnered to host monthly wage theft clinics to educate and empower workers in the region. Wage theft, which includes unpaid overtime and misclassification of workers, is a significant issue, costing workers billions annually. The NEOWC, established in 2019, aims to support non-unionized workers by educating them about their rights and connecting them with legal services. The clinics provide bilingual support and help workers understand and exercise their labor rights, including protections against discrimination and wage theft, regardless of immigration status. The NEOWC offers various resources and referrals to assist workers in advocating for fair treatment in the workplace.

News Article

The article discusses Colombian President Gustavo Petro's efforts to reform labor laws in response to social upheaval and economic inequality, inspired by the popular song "El Jefe" by Shakira. Petro aims to reverse decades of neoliberal policies and increase labor rights, addressing issues created by past reforms in the 1990s and early 2000s. The proposed reform faces opposition from conservative forces in Congress, and while progress has been made, it has not yet become law. The US embassy expressed support for the reform, and there is a call for popular mobilizations to pressure Congress. The success of Petro's labor reform remains uncertain in the volatile political climate of Colombia.

News Article

The blog post discusses the challenges faced by small-scale avocado growers in Mexico, particularly those associated with bringing their produce to the US market. The author, Nicole Vitello, President of Oke USA, shares insights from her visit to PRAGOR, a Fairtrade avocado cooperative in Michoacán, Mexico.

The cooperative consists of 22 small-scale farmer members, each owning 15 hectares or less. The organization manages the purchase, packing, and export of avocados to the US through Equal Exchange. The pricing structure involves weekly negotiations between the general manager and farmers, with prices set by APEAM, a trade association. Organic avocados command a higher price in the export market.

Vitello emphasizes the unique approach of Equal Exchange in exclusively sourcing avocados from the co-op, negotiating prices in dollars, and avoiding brokers or middlemen. The cooperative follows Fair Trade principles, ensuring fair wages and conditions for farmers. The blog stresses the commitment to transparency, with avocados bearing the Equal Exchange logo and being packed in branded boxes labeled "Small Farmers, Big Change."

The post highlights the cooperative's focus on empowering small farmers as business people who take on risks beyond cultivation. Despite challenges, the supply chain aims to reflect the true cost of growing avocados, fostering a connection between consumers and the specific group of people involved in the production process. The author advocates for a deeper understanding of the avocado industry, shedding light on the complexities of pricing, market functions, and the farmers' role. Overall, the post underscores the cooperative's dedication to providing a genuine story about the origin and journey of avocados consumed in the US.

News Article

On January 23, Greater Cleveland Partnership got an early morning wake up call when Sam Allard of Axios Cleveland broke the story that a coalition of grassroots organizations led by Cleveland Owns, the InterReligious Task Force on Central America, Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, and the Greater Cleveland Housing Justice Coalition would be leading a walkout at the second annual Sustainability Summit organized by Greater Cleveland Partnership.

News Article

This report explains how issuances of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are an effective tool to mitigate the effects of the multiple crises that Latin American and Caribbean countries currently face. SDRs are among the most important alternative financing mechanisms available within the international monetary system, as they can generate new resources without increasing debt levels. Untapped for decades, recent issuances in 2009 — to address the effects of the global recession — and in 2021 — to help countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic — reintroduced SDRs as a powerful instrument for addressing global emergencies. However, the scale of their impact could be much more significant.

The current context, marked by the climate crisis, economic stagnation, and rising external debt burdens, calls for a strong, coordinated, and global response by the international community. So far, however, the response has failed to meet these challenges sufficiently or adequately. Given these circumstances, a new SDR issuance becomes not only relevant but also necessary for ensuring that countries of the Global South receive the financial support required for climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In order to achieve further issuances of SDRs, a coordinated push by Latin American and Caribbean countries, together with other countries and organizations in the Global South, is essential.

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