Belabored Podcast #30: Out (and In) Sourcing

Belabored Podcast #30: Out (and In) Sourcing

This week on Belabored: looking forward after the elections, Walmart workers on strike again, and the dangers of trading tax breaks for “job creation.” Then, an in-depth look at the world of outsourcing: labor struggles in China and Bangladesh, the shady world of global temp agencies, and outsourcing right here at home. Featuring an interview with Bangladeshi labor organizer Kalpona Akter


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This week on Belabored, Sarah and Michelle talk about this week’s elections (and what comes next), Walmart workers on strike again, and the dangers of “economic development” plans that give big companies huge tax breaks in exchange for “creating jobs.” They then take an in-depth look at the world of outsourcing: labor struggles in China and Bangladesh, the shady world of global temp agencies, and outsourcing right here at home.

Featuring an interview with Bangladeshi labor organizer Kalpona Akter, executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, about the state of garment worker organizing. She points out that while changes appear to be afoot, the political situation remains “intense,” and workers often face retaliation from police in the streets. The situation is exacerbated as the political opposition tries to “take advantage” of workers’ unrest to garner power, and conflict could escalate if workers are dissatisfied with the size of the promised minimum wage increase. She then discusses how workers are driving the movement directly from the grassroots, with support from mainstream unions and international groups. She argues that supply chain worker organizing,  linking Bangladeshi and U.S. workers across Wal-Mart’s production system, is key. The Bangladesh activists are planning joint campaigns with the global union coalition IndustriALL and various U.S. unions to spread solidarity protests. They need international solidarity in order to ensure that the pressure stays on Wal-Mart to sign the pending Bangladesh Fire & Building Safety Accord.

Links for those following along at home: 
Report on day laborers and Sandy
What the next mayor (of New York) should do about homelessness
Sarah: Interview with Bill deBlasio
Homeless shelter landlords bet big on deBlasio
Laura Clawson: Union leader elected Boston mayor and other wins for workers
Idaho town struggles after pinning hopes on failed factory
Michelle: Through state tax breaks, bosses pilfer workers’ earnings
Kshama Sawant ran for Seattles’s City Council as a socialist—and came very close to winning
Josh Eidelson: Walmart workers on strike again
Wildcat Walmart strike in Florida
Michelle: Minimum wage hike won’t appease Bangladeshi workers
Michelle: Labor steps up global fight against exploitative agencies
Michelle: Bossnapped! What we can learn from China’s labor banditry.
Michelle: Exploitation remains the name of the game at Dell’s Chinese factories
IndustriALL union fights precarious work

What We Wish We’d Written:
Sarah: Heidi Moore at the Guardian on women’s favors going unnoticed at work.
Michelle: Vandana Shiva,”How economic growth has become anti-life”

tote | University of California Press Lima