By Doug Cunningham (laborradio.org), July 24, 2013
The ugly grim reality of free trade export factories’ brutal exploitation of workers is prompting the Teamsters and others to call for the U.S. to suspend TPP trade talks with Vietnam. Teamsters President Jim Hoffa.
[Jim Hoffa]: “Vietnam should not be rewarded for its bad behavior, and especially should not be allowed to participate in the TPP. That’s why the Teamsters are joining with the Citizens Trade Campaign, the Communications Workers of America, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, UNITE-HERE, the Carpenters Union and the United Students Against Sweatshops to call for the suspension of trade discussions until Vietnam ends the abuses and lets people join unions and ends the discrimination.”
President Obama is meeting with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang today amid ongoing Trans Pacific Partnership trade talks. Scott Nova, Executive Director of the Worker Rights Consortium, says the abuses in Vietnamese export factories serving brands like Nike , Converse and others include forced labor, child labor, physical beatings and gender discrimination. Workers can’t join unions other than the Communist Party dominated VGCL.
[Scott Nova]: “In 2011 even a representative of the country’s official labor union called wages in Vietnam’s export factories, “shockingly low”. Today the unfortunate truth remains that “Made In Vietnam” is largely synonymous with sweatshop labor. In our experience at the Worker Rights Consortium – to the extent that the response of global corporations and trading partners to those countries is to reward those countries by putting more business into the country, the countries get exactly the message that you would expect them to get which is to keep doing what they’re doing.”