Worst Companies for Union Organizing Highlighted for International Human Rights Day

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Bama Athreya, bama.athreya@ilrf.org, 202-347-4100 x. 106
Tim Newman, tim.newman@ilrf.org, 202-347-4100 x. 113

Worst Companies for Union Organizing Highlighted for International Human Rights Day

WASHINGTON - As human rights advocates around the
world celebrate International Human Rights Day, the International Labor Rights
Forum (ILRF) has released "Working
for Scrooge: Worst Companies of 2009 for the Right to Associate"

- a list of the four worst multinational corporations for union
organizing. Among other rights related to workers, the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights (UDHR) states that "everyone has the right to form and to
join trade unions for the protection of his interests" (Article 23,
Section 4). The US-based companies on ILRF's list use intimidation and
even violence to violate workers' internationally recognized right to
organize.

Despite
the labor rights protections in the UDHR, UN and ILO declarations and national
labor laws, workers continue to see their rights trampled on a daily basis. In
fact, in its most recently released survey of violations of trade union rights,
the International Trade Union Confederation reports at least 76 unionists were
killed globally as a result of their organizing efforts in 2008.

The
companies on this year's list include: Dole (with violations in Cameroon, Colombia,
Costa Rica, Ecuador and the Philippines),
Kohl's (with violations in Nicaragua and Turkey),
Kraft (with violations in Argentina, China,
Honduras and the United Kingdom) and Nestlé (with violations in
Colombia, Hong
Kong, India, Indonesia and Tunisia).

Bama Athreya, Executive Director of the International
Labor Rights Forum
, said, "As we celebrate International Human
Rights Day and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, consumers and labor
rights advocates globally can support the human rights of workers by letting
these companies know that they need to respect the right to organize."

As the global economic crisis
spreads, many labor advocates fear that companies are using the crisis as a
pretext for cracking down on unionized workers and instituting employment
schemes that reduce the number of workers guaranteed union protections. At the
same time, workers and their supporters around the world are fighting back
- and winning important victories for workers.  For example, Russell
was named on last year's "Working For Scrooge" list for
shutting down a unionized factory in Honduras, but after Honduran workers
organized an international campaign with the support of labor advocates in the
US, the union was successful in pressuring Russell to meet its demands leading
to a major victory for workers and the global anti-sweatshop movement.

The list of companies is part of
ILRF's Freedom at Work campaign. The list along with company profiles can
be viewed online here: http://www.laborrights.org/freedom-at-work/resources/12234

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ILRF is an advocacy organization dedicated to achieving just and humane treatment for workers worldwide. ILRF serves a unique role among human rights organizations as advocates for and with working poor around the world. We believe that all workers have the right to a safe working environment where they are treated with dignity and respect, and where they can organize freely to defend and promote their rights and interests.

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