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China Drafts Law to Empower Unions and End Labor Abuse

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Rose Siding Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 10:31 PM
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China Drafts Law to Empower Unions and End Labor Abuse
China is planning to adopt a new law that seeks to crack down on sweatshops and protect workers rights by giving labor unions real power for the first time since it introduced market forces in the 1980s.

The move, which underscores the governments growing concern about the widening income gap and threats of social unrest, is setting off a battle with American and other foreign corporations that have lobbied against it by hinting that they may build fewer factories here.
...
The workers advocates say that the proposed labor rules and more important, enforcement powers are long overdue, and they accuse the American businesses of favoring a system that has led to widespread labor abuse.

On Friday, Global Labor Strategies, a group that supports labor rights policies, is expected to release a report in New York and Boston denouncing American corporations for opposing legislation that would give Chinese workers stronger rights.

You have big corporations opposing basically modest reforms, said Tim Costello, an official of the group and a longtime labor union advocate. This flies in the face of the idea that globalization and corporations will raise standards around the world.

Chinas Labor Ministry declined to comment Thursday, saying the law is still in the drafting stages. Several American corporations also declined to comment on the case, saying it was a delicate matter and referring calls to the American Chamber of Commerce

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/13/business/worldbusines...

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catnhatnh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-12-06 10:36 PM
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1. Why is it that I wish I was in the labor market...
in China, rather than New Hampshire???
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pampango Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 06:10 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. I doubt that you will have much trouble finding someone from
China who is willing to trade places with you.

The article says that labor costs (wages?) in China are rising. That is good. Given the sacrifices made in the US, I hope that Chinese workers are beginning to benefit.

"The proposed law is being debated after Wal-Mart Stores, the worlds biggest retailer, was forced to accept unions in its Chinese outlets." That's a bit of progress, even though before this new legislation, unions in China were very controlled by the government.

The proposed new law "underscores the governments growing concern about the widening income gap and threats of social unrest, is setting off a battle with American and other foreign corporations that have lobbied against it." Ha, for the good ol' days of universal poverty and equality (except for those party leaders who were more "equal" than others). I do not know of any country that has industrialized without some concentration of wealth, but I am glad that the Chinese government is proactively dealing with this concentration and its social consequences, assuming that the new laws will be enforced.

It is a shame, though, that foreign corporation have (predictably and selfishly) opposed this new legislation. They can read the handwriting on the wall. If China does achieve some level of prosperity and workers' rights in the long run, the gravy train will be over for them. China will have used these corporations to achieve its development goals, create a self-sustaining domestic economy, then told them to either stay under new rules of move on and let Chinese companies take over.
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David__77 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-13-06 01:53 AM
Response to Original message
2. Good!
It is no good that a country calling itself socialist has a pretty weak workers' rights protection system. When things were state-owned and collective, the argument went "you can't strike against yourself," but now, there must be a vigorous movement, supported by the state and ruling party.
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