Tula Connell's blog

Defying Challenges, Myanmar Workers Win Rights at Work

Fifteen minutes before the gray, 12-foot gate of the garment factory compound in Myanmar’s Hlaing Thar Yar industrial zone opens to release workers, vendors selling fried chicken on sticks and bags of nuts gather in anticipation. At a designated time, the guards roll back the gate and the vendors push their heavy carts up a steep hill and into the compound. If they hesitate, they are locked out as guards quickly close the gate behind them.

Violence at the Workplace: ‘They Treated Us Like Slaves'

Gender-based violence on the job occurs far more often than most people realize, and domestic workers – isolated in individual homes – are especially vulnerable to abuse, said domestic workers, union organizers and experts yesterday at a panel discussion focusing on women and violence at work.

“They treated us like slaves,” said May Joy Guarizo Salapare, describing her experience as a domestic worker for a family in Saudi Arabia.

In Thailand, Burmese Migrant Workers Toil without Rights

An estimated 200,000 Burmese migrants fuel Thailand’s huge fishing industry in Samut Sakhon province, an hour outside of Bangkok. The majority of workers are ethnic Mon from farming villages in southern Burma and they send their salaries to their families back home. Many workers do not hold legal documents and are vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers and lack access to legal protection. 

Not Part of the Job! Video Explores Gender-Based Violence

Sexual assault is a well-recognized aspect of gender-based violence at work. But as a new Solidarity Center video makes clear, gender-based violence at work may involve bullying, verbal abuse, stalking, threats and much more.

‘They Have Forgotten the Lessons of Rana Plaza’

Following the Rana Plaza collapse in which 1,134 garment workers were killed and thousands more injured in Bangladesh, the horror of the incident spurred international action and resulted in significant safety improvements in many of the country’s 3,000 garment factories.

#TimeIsNow: International Women’s Day 2018

Sorting olives, picking peaches and cultivating fields across a vast agro-industrial complex outside Meknes, Morocco, Hayat Khomssi says women workers like her once did not have access to higher-skilled jobs and leadership positions.

Thai Unions Coordinate, Collaborate for Success

After working several years at an auto parts factory outside Bangkok, Prasit Prasopsuk compared conditions at his workplace with those of a friend employed at a similar plant—and realized his wages were lower and working conditions worse because there was no union representation.

Zimbabwe Vendor Ban Targets Vulnerable Workers

The government in Zimbabwe is moving to ban market vendors in Harare at a time when more than 90 percent of the workforce labors in the informal economy and 85 percent or more Zimbabweans are seeking decent work.

People who are into street vending are not into it for their liking, but are being forced due to the collapsed economy,” the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) says in a statement.

Kenya's Domestic Workers Find Hope with Union

Like many women in Mombasa, Kenya, Alice Mwadzi says for years she barely eked out a living. A lack of jobs in the port city for many means a constant struggle to survive—selling fruit on busy highways or hauling carts stacked with heavy water containers through congested streets—involving long hours of often back-breaking work for nearly no pay.

Workers’ Equality Forum: Share Your Story!

Sam Oliver, a union shop steward at the Sime Darby Rubber and Oil plantation in Liberia, where workers live in company-provided housing, says “people lived in deplorable” conditions before joining the General Agriculture and Allied Workers Union of Liberia (GAAWUL).

Today, says Oliver, a warehouse clerk on the plantation, “through the intervention of this union, you can now see they are renovating some of these houses and negotiation is on the table so they can fast track the renovation.”

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