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CorpWatch Exclusives

Amazon Workers in Germany Strike for Better Pay
by Richard SmallteacherCorpWatch Blog
September 23rd, 2014
Some 2,000 German employees of Amazon, the internet retail giant, walked off their jobs this week at four sites - Bad Hersfeld, Graben, Leipzig and Rheinberg. The strike action was coordinated by Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft (United Services Union), a Berlin trade union commonly known as Ver.di.

Migrant Rights Activist Fights Thai Pineapple Company Lawsuit
by Pratap Chatterjee
September 12th, 2014
Natural Fruit, one of Thailand’s largest pineapple processors, has sued Andy Hall, a British researcher, over a report that he worked on for Finnwatch on labor abuses in the industry. Hall faces some seven years in jail and $10 million in fines.

Yue Yuen Shoe Factory Backs Down After Workers Strike for Pensions
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
May 3rd, 2014
Some 40,000 workers in seven Yue Yuen shoe factories in Dongguan city, China, went on strike last month to successfully demand that their employer make pension payments required under the law.

Anglo American Workers Strike Against Contract Labor Conditions in Chile
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
March 25th, 2014
Some 4,000 contract workers at Los Bronces copper mine in Chile went on strike against Anglo American, a UK-based mining multinational from South Africa. The strike is the latest in a series of protests against the Chilean copper industry, the world’s largest producers of the metal.

Fast Food Workers File Lawsuit Against McDonald’s for Alleged Wage Theft
by Fatima HansiaCorpWatch Blog
March 21st, 2014
Over 25,000 low-wage employees working at McDonald’s franchises in California, Michigan and New York are being systematically cheated of their wages, say attorneys who filed seven simultaneous lawsuits last week against McDonald’s and its franchisees for violations of labor law.

World Bank Agrees to Investigate Labor Conditions at Indian Tea Company
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
February 21st, 2014
The World Bank has agreed to investigate Amalgamated Plantations Private Limited (APPL) in India for abusive working conditions on tea plantations in the north-eastern Indian state of Assam, following a formal complaint by workers. A Columbia Law School team has confirmed the workers allegations.

Chocolate Slavery Case Against Nestlé Allowed to Proceed
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
December 24th, 2013
Eight years after they sued Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Cargill and Nestlé for allegedly forcing them to work as child labor on a Côte d'Ivoire cocoa plantation, three young men from Mali have won a small victory – the ability to be heard in a California court.

Ikea France Accused of Spying on Employees
by Richard SmallteacherCorpWatch Blog
December 15th, 2013
Sûreté International – a private detective agency - was allegedly hired by Ikea France to spy on prospective and existing employees, activists from the union Force Ouvrière and even disgruntled customers.

Del Monte Plantation Workers Win Settlement in Global Horizons Case
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
November 18th, 2013
Some 150 Thai workers on a Del Monte pineapple plantation in Hawaii will get $1.2 million to settle allegations of sub-standard working conditions. The lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against seven companies including Global Horizons, a labor recruiter from Los Angeles.

Samsung Worker May Have Contracted Cancer at Workplace, Court Finds
by Richard Smallteacher
October 28th, 2013
A South Korean court has found "considerable causal relationship" between leukemia that killed a Samsung worker and her job dipping wafers in chemicals at a memory chip factory in Gi-heung, South Korea. This is the third time courts have supported alleged victims of workplace hazards in Samsung facilities.

Flower Growers in Kenya Strike Against Karuturi Global
by Pratap Chatterjee
October 10th, 2013
Flower growers in Kenya have gone on strike to protest unpaid wages from Karuturi Global, the Indian flower export multinational. The strike is the latest in a series of problems that have caused the company share price to plummet from over Rs39 in 2008 to Rs0.63 in mid-September 2013.

Samsung Sued for $109 Million For Labor Violations in Amazon
by Richard SmallteacherCorpWatch Blog
August 17th, 2013
Samsung, the South Korean electronics giant, faces a 250 million real ($109) million fine for working condition violations at a plant in the free trade zone of Manaus, the capital of Amazonas state in Brazil.

Daily CEO Pay Now Exceeds U.S. Workers Annual Salary
by Richard Smallteacher
June 30th, 2013
U.S. corporate CEO salaries rose 16 percent in 2012, according to research firm Equilar. Average daily CEO pay is now greater than that of the average annual worker salary. Top salary: Larry Ellison of Oracle - over $96 million. Top exit bonus: James Mulva of ConocoPhillips - $156 million.

Spinneys Lebanon Criticized for Labor Practices
by Richard SmallteacherCorpWatch Blog
May 28th, 2013
Charbel Nahas, the former Lebanese labor minister, is to appear before a court next month on charges of publishing incorrect information, slander and libel over the labor practices of Spinneys, the Dubai-based Middle Eastern supermarket chain.

H&M Responds Slowly to Bangladesh Factory Collapse Killing 1,100
by Puck LoCorpWatch Blog
May 19th, 2013
H&M (Hennes & Mauritz), a major Swedish “fast fashion” retailer, led 30 international companies this week to commit to a new $3 billion fund to improve the safety of garment factories in Bangladesh. Watchdog organizations say the companies acted only because of external pressure by activists and workers.

Benetton, Others Tied to Bangladesh Factory Disaster: 400 Killed
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
May 1st, 2013
Multinationals like Benetton have tried to distance themselves from Rana Plaza, a Bangladeshi building housing five clothing factories, that collapsed last week killing over 400. Activists argue that change will only come when workers get more political support to challenge them.

Boeing Helps Kill Proposed Law to Regulate Drones
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
March 30th, 2013
Boeing, the aircraft manufacturing giant from Seattle, helped defeat a Republican proposal in Washington state that would have forced government agencies to get approval to buy unmanned aerial vehicles, popularly known as drones, and to obtain a warrant before using them to conduct surveillance on individuals.

South African Gold Miners Sue Over Deadly Lung Disease
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
January 3rd, 2013
Thousands of gold miners have asked permission from South African courts to sue some 30 mining companies over negligence in health and safety that the miners allege has caused them to contract silicosis, a debilitating and potentially fatal lung disease.

H&M Targeted for Uzbek Cotton Allegedly Grown with Forced Labor
by Puck LoCorpWatch Blog
December 27th, 2012
Swedish company H&M, the world’s second-largest clothing retailer, is under pressure to cut ties with supplier South Korea-based Daewoo International and others that purchase cotton from Uzbekistan, where the government allegedly forces children and adults to harvest the white fiber for little or no pay.

Bolivia pushes back against Swiss commodities giant Glencore
by Carmelo Ruiz-MarreroCorpWatch Blog
July 24th, 2012
Glencore corporation, the secretive Swiss commodities giant which has become one of the world's biggest trader of grain, oil and minerals, has hit an unlikely roadblock. The Bolivian government nationalized the Colquiri tin and zinc mine, the third Glencore asset to be seized by the state in five years.

Sweatships at Sea: Carnival Cruises Pay Below International Standards
by Pratap ChatterjeeCorpWatch Blog
May 1st, 2012
Carnival Cruise staff on UK ships are paid $1.20 an hour or $400 a month in basic wages, according to the Guardian newspaper. These workers lose their tips, ie roughly 15 percent of wages, unless they get at least a 92 percent favorable rating from customers.

Global Horizons Indicted for Human Trafficking
by  Pratap ChatterjeeSpecial to CorpWatch
September 15th, 2010
Mordechai Orian, president of Global Horizons, a Los Angeles-based labor recruiter, was indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for "engaging in a conspiracy to commit forced labor and document servitude" of some 400 Thai citizens who were brought to work on farms in the U.S.

BP: Beyond Petroleum or Beyond Preposterous? (2000)
by Kenny Bruno
May 12th, 2010
In 2000 British Petroleum launched an expensive ad campaign, re-branding its corporate image into the eco-friendly "BP: Beyond Petroleum.” We said it then. When a company spends more on advertising its environmental friendliness than on environmental actions, that's greenwash. Three long weeks into the BP oil disaster roiling the Gulf of Mexico, CorpWatch's December 2000 skewering of its new image sadly, bears repeating.

Mission Essential, Translators Expendable
by Pratap ChatterjeeSpecial to CorpWatch
August 11th, 2009
Ohio-based Mission Essential Personnel supplies over 2,000 translators to the Pentagon in Afghanistan, who play a critical role in protecting local and military lives. These interpreters are a key communications link. But if they are wounded or killed, they are often left to fend for themselves. This special features video of CorpWatch interviews with three Afghan whistleblowers, recorded in country in April. Click through to hear their story.

Regulating Ramatex: Authorities Shut Out as Malaysian Investor Threatens Namibian Environment
by Moses MagadzaSpecial to CorpWatch
April 5th, 2009
For nearly six years Ramatex Textile and Garment Factory barred government regulators from entering industrial premises leased from the City of Windhoek. Ramatex came to Namibia in 2001, lured by the newly implemented African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Evidence of environmental violations finally emerged after the company absconded.

Inheriting Halliburton's Army: What Will Obama Do With KBR?
by Pratap ChatterjeeTomDispatch.com
February 22nd, 2009
President Obama will almost certainly touch down in Baghdad and Kabul in Air Force One sometime in the coming year to meet his counterparts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he will just as certainly pay a visit to a U.S. military base or two. Should he stay to eat with the troops, he will no less certainly choose from a menu prepared by migrant Asian workers under contract to Houston-based KBR, the former subsidiary of Halliburton.

Norilsk Nickel: A Tale of Unbridled Capitalism, Russian Style
by Anton FoekSpecial to CorpWatch
October 9th, 2008
The launch of Russia’s stock markets in the early 90s and privatization of state assets has profoundly impacted Russian society. As the case of mining giant Norilsk Nickel illustrates, this experiment has given rise to both immense personal wealth for a new elite, and economic uncertainty for the ordinary citizen.

Toyota: Auto Industry Race to the Bottom
by Barbara BriggsSpecial to CorpWatch
September 16th, 2008
Globally, Toyota is known for its innovation and quality of products like the Prius hybrid. A closer look at operations in Japan, the Philippines, Myanmar and the U.S. reveals a story of extreme working conditions, union-busting and other corporate abuses. In Japan and elsewhere, workers are speaking out.

A Glittering Demon: Mining, Poverty and Politics in the Democratic Republic of Congo
by Michael DeibertSpecial to CorpWatch
June 26th, 2008
In the DRC, a nation rich in natural resources yet confounded by civil war and endemic poverty, artisanal mining communities are struggling for their livelihoods as foreign multinationals like AngloGold Ashanti rush to cash in.

Playing with Children's Lives: Big Tobacco in Malawi
by Pilirani Semu-BandaSpecial to CorpWatch
February 25th, 2008
Cigarettes may be damaging not only your own health, but also that of some of the world's poorest children. Much of Malawi's thriving tobacco industry rests on the backs of exploited children, some as young as five years old.

Barrick's Dirty Secrets: Communities Respond to Gold Mining's Impacts Worldwide
May 1st, 2007
A new CorpWatch report details the operations of Barrick Gold in nine different countries, focusing on the efforts on the part of the communities to seek justice from this powerful multinational.
Download Spanish version of report

US: Swift sued over hiring
by Christine TatumDenver Post
December 12th, 2006
Eighteen former Swift & Co. employees who worked at the meatpacker's Cactus, Texas, plant have filed a $23 million lawsuit alleging that Swift hired illegal workers to depress employee wages.

Guest Workers Seek Global Horizons: U.S. Company Profits From Migrant Labor
by Kari LydersenSpecial to CorpWatch
November 3rd, 2006
Global Horizons is one of the biggest companies in the business of importing temporary foreign workers to do jobs in the U.S. ranging from agriculture to nursing. Their workers endure similar working conditions to undocumented workers, prompting government investigations. Global Horizon Responds

A U.S. Fortress Rises in Baghdad: Asian Workers Trafficked to Build World's Largest Embassy
by David PhinneySpecial to CorpWatch
October 17th, 2006
Workers accuse the Kuwait contractor building the US embassy in Baghdad of smuggling low-paid South Asians into Iraq and labor trafficking. Still, the US State Department casts a blind eye on the complaints as it rushes to complete its most ambitious project ever.

Iraq After Halliburton
by Pratap ChatterjeeSpecial to CorpWatch
July 12th, 2006
The controversial multibillion-dollar deal with oil services giant Halliburton to provide logistical support to U.S. troops in Iraq has been canceled. What should happen next? Read our three alternative annual reports on Halliburton, to learn the real legacy of the company's incompetence and corruption.
Listen to an interview with CorpWatch's director, Pratap Chatterjee.

A Proxy Battle: Shareholders vs. CEOs
by Kevin KelleherSpecial to CorpWatch
June 13th, 2006
Earnest shareholder resolutions presented at company annual general meetings on everything from human rights to executive compensation are routinely shot down in flames. But shareholder resolutions may have an effect, even in defeat.

Target: Wal-Mart Lite
by Kari LydersenSpecial to CorpWatch
April 20th, 2006
Shopping in a Target store, you know you’re not in Wal-Mart. But, critics say that in terms of working conditions, sweatshop-style foreign suppliers, and effects on local retail communities, big box Target stores are very much like Wal-Mart, just in a prettier package.

Happy Meals, Unhappy Workers
by Aaron Glantz and Ngoc NguyenSpecial to CorpWatch
March 6th, 2006
Vietnamese workers earn less than $2 a day making stuffed animals and Happy Meal toys for U.S. consumers. An ongoing series of wildcat strikes this winter has forced the government to raise wages to prevent factories from moving to other countries.

Listen to an interview about this article with Aaron Glantz on CorpWatch Radio.


Baghdad Embassy Bonanza
by David PhinneySpecial to CorpWatch
February 12th, 2006
A controversial Kuwait-based construction firm accused of exploiting employees and coercing low-paid laborers to work in war-torn Iraq against their will is now building the new $592-million U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

Listen to an interview with David Phinney about this article on CorpWatch Radio.


Vedanta Undermines Indian Communities
by Nityanand JayaramanSpecial to Corpwatch
November 15th, 2005
Vedanta, a fast growing British mining and aluminium production company founded by a billionaire expatriate Bombay businessman, threatens communities in India with environmental degradation and widespread pollution.

The Baku-Ceyhan Pipeline: BP’s Time Bomb
by Hannah EllisSpecial to CorpWatch
June 2nd, 2005
With their newly opened pipeline, British Petroleum (BP) is cutting a path of environmental and social irresponsibility from the Caspian to the Mediterranean.

'Tis the Season for Shareholder Activism
by Jan FrelSpecial to CorpWatch
May 4th, 2005
Every spring, activists and investors attend annual general meetings to protest and meet face-to-face with CEOs and corporate boards. The goal is to place their agendas -- on everything from the environment to labor practices -- front and center.

Meat Packer's Union on the Chopping Block
by Sasha LilleySpecial to CorpWatch
April 18th, 2005
Today's meat packing industry relies increasingly on high-speed, treacherous disassembly lines. Perhaps that's why Tyson Foods, Inc. -- a giant in a flourishing industry -- is working to take apart a union that prioritizes safety over speed.

Egyptian Asbestos Workers Dying of Cancer
by Aaron Glantz, Special to CorpWatch
January 13th, 2005
Workers at Aura-Misr, a Spanish-Egyptian asbestos company in Cairo, have been laid off since Christmas, after a ban on asbestos took effect in the country. Many of the fired workers have been diagnosed with cancer and they worry that other workers may soon fall ill and die also.

Sweating for the Olympics
by Sasha Lilley, Special to CorpWatch
August 11th, 2004
Behind the five intertwined rings of the Athens games, underpaid workers are sewing the shirts, gluing the shoes, and putting zippers to running suits and track apparel branded as Olympic--in working conditions that would make even the most highly trained athlete sweat.

Sweet and Sour
by Jim LobeSpecial to CorpWatch
June 23rd, 2004
A new report from Human Rights Watch reveals that American corporations such as Coca-Cola may be getting sugar from plantations in El Salvador that employ child labor.

Money for Nothing and Calls for Free
by Nidhi Kumar and Nidhi VergheseSpecial to CorpWatch
February 17th, 2004
As the outsourcing of jobs has become a hot election year issue in the US, call centers in India continue to multiply. Local workers answer calls for US corporations at a fraction of the cost of an American worker.

Operation Sweatshop Iraq
by Pratap ChatterjeeSpecial to CorpWatch
February 12th, 2004
Halliburton is hiring temps to work in Iraq: $100 a month for locals, $300 for Indians and $8,000 for Texans. Meanwhile taxpayers are getting charged top dollar, prompting investigations from the United States military.

Jordan's Sweatshops: The Carrot or the Stick of US Policy?
by Aaron GlantzSpecial to CorpWatch
February 26th, 2003
While the world braces for a US war against Iraq, Washington is using its newly inked Free Trade Agreement with Jordan to open sweatshops and secure an ally in the region.

Sweat-Free School Purchasing Resolutions: A New Trend?
by Ben PlimptonSpecial to CorpWatch
February 6th, 2003
School Districts and city governments are promising to purchase "sweat-free" uniforms and sports equipment. Organizers say the grassroots initiatives are a cutting edge in the fight against sweatshops.

West Coast Dockworkers: Victory in the Face of the Bush Doctrine
by David BaconSpecial to Corpwatch
January 2nd, 2003
West Coast Dockers negotiate a contract despite federal intervention on the side of business. But the Bush administration has fired a warning shot at labor.

The Prison Industry: Capitalist Punishment
by Julie LightCorpWatch
October 28th, 1999
The CMT Blues scandal and the host of human rights and labor issues it raises, is just the tip of the iceberg in a web of interconnected business, government and class interests which critics dub the ''prison industrial complex.''

La Linea: Gender, Labor and Environmental Justice on the US-Mexico Border
by Julie LightSpecial to CorpWatch
June 30th, 1999
TECATE, Mexico -- Tecate's coat of arms dubs this Mexican town ''Baja California's Industrial Paradise.'' About 30 miles from Tijuana, the city is home to the Tecate brewery and also houses an industrial park filled with assembly plants, or maquiladoras. This ''industrial paradise'' is one of several Mexican border boomtowns that is part of a global production system.

Engendering Change
by Julie LightSpecial to CorpWatch
June 26th, 1999
For women working in Mexican assembly plants, known as maquiladoras, insisting on their legal rights takes what are colloquially referred to as cojones. It indicates that Mexico's low wage feminine labor force may not be as docile as foreign employers would like to believe. It also is a harbinger of an incipient movement inside Mexico's expanding export-processing sector.

Tijuana Police Defy Court Protection of Maquiladora Strike
by David BaconSpecial to CorpWatch
May 16th, 1999
TIJUANA -- For two weeks, Tijuana has teetered on the brink of official lawlessness, as city and state police continue to defy Baja California's legal system. Raul Ramirez, member of the Baja California Academy of Human Rights, warned last week that ''the state is in danger of violating the Constitution and the Federal Labor Law... as it succumbs to the temptation to use force.''

MEXICO: Standing up for Health Rights on the Job
Special to CorpWatch
May 1st, 1999
First hand accounts of two workers who sued a San Diego-based medical manufacturer after a workplace accident.

MEXICO: University Professors Photos Draw the Wrath of Border Industrialists
by Julie LightSpecial to CorpWatch
April 29th, 1999
It wasn't just the politically provocative photographs that got Fred Lonidier's exhibit at Tijuana's public university taken down. It was the fact that he had the audacity to leaflet maquiladora workers outside the factory gates and invite them to the gallery that got his show yanked.

MEXICO: Miners' Strike Broken in Revolutionary Cananea
by David BaconSpecial to CorpWatch
March 12th, 1999
In the mile-high mountains of the Sonora desert, just 25 miles south of the border between Arizona and Mexico, over two thousand miners have been locked in a bitter industrial war since mid-November. Here Grupo Mexico operates North America's oldest, and one of the world's largest copper mines -- Cananea -- in a town which has been a symbol of anti-government insurrection for almost 100 years.

US: Oregon's Prison Slaveocracy
by Dan PensPrison Legal News
May 1st, 1998
When "get tough" voter measures requiring inmates to work for free, undermined the Oregon State Constitution, lawmakers simply amended it. Prison Legal News co-editor and inmate Pens looks at the impacts on prisoner and labor rights.

VIETNAM: Smoke From a Hired Gun
by Dara O'RourkeTransnational Resource and Action Center (TRAC)
November 10th, 1997
TRAC is pleased to be able to shed some light on this subject by releasing the first audit of this kind ever to be made public: a confidential Ernst and Young assessment of the Tae Kwang Vina plant, a factory which employs 9,200 workers who produce 400,000 pairs of shoes a month exclusively for Nike in Vietnam.

CorpWatch Interviews Lora Jo Foo
CorpWatch
September 22nd, 1997
Here is an interview with Laura Jo Foo of the Asian Law Caucus and President of Sweatshop Watch on the issue of a Living Wage.

Clinton's New ''No Sweatshop'' Agreement
by Tim ConnorCommunity Aid Abroad
September 22nd, 1997
In April this year, with much fanfare, US President Bill Clinton announced the introduction of a new ''No Sweatshop'' Code of Conduct for US Apparel and Footwear companies. The code is voluntary, but high profile companies like Nike Inc., Reebok International Ltd. and Liz Claiborne Inc. were among the ten initial signatories. These companies agreed that a set of minimum standards for working conditions in factories would be adhered to in the production of their goods -- wherever that production occurs.

Profiting from Punishment
by Paul WrightPrison Labor News
March 1st, 1997
The co-editor of Prison Legal News, a Washington State prisoner himself, Wright reports on private companies, like Boeing, that are making out like bandits by using prison labor.

Organizing the High Tech Industry
CorpWatch
February 10th, 1997
CorpWatch interviews John Barton, Organizing Coordinator, Building Service Division, of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and links up with other groups organizing for worker health and safety.