Thar’s gold in them thar hills, slums, and factories

Posted: 23 January 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,

Clearly, there’s a lot of gold (and other forms of money) to be had in the hills of Guatemala, the slums of Brazil, and the factories of the United States.

That’s why Goldcorp continues to operate its Marlin gold and silver mine in Guatemala.

Virtually every international human rights organization—from the ILO to the UN Special Rapporteur – has weighed in, urging Goldcorp and the Guatemalan government to suspend mine operations to ensure protection of the rights, health and livelihoods of the indigenous people. In mid-2010, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (IACHR) went one step further and issued precautionary measures ordering the Guatemalan government to suspend operations at the Marlin mine.

It’s also why Brazilian riot police have stormed the Pinheirinho favela in São José dos Campos.

Some 6,000 residents are being evicted from the eight-year-old settlement.

Around 2,000 police officers were involved in the operation to reclaim the private land, which had been occupied by landless workers and turned into a community.

And why business owners are increasingly using lockouts to impose Draconian contracts on workers.

“This is a sign of increased employer militancy,” said Gary Chaison, a professor of industrial relations at Clark University. “Lockouts were once so rare they were almost unheard of. Now, not only are employers increasingly on the offensive and trying to call the shots in bargaining, but they’re backing that up with action — in the form of lockouts.”

The number of strikes has declined to just one-sixth the annual level of two decades ago. That is largely because labor unions’ ranks have declined and because many workers worry that if they strike they will lose pay and might also lose their jobs to permanent replacement workers.

Lockouts, on the other hand, have grown to represent a record percentage of the nation’s work stoppages, according to Bloomberg BNA, a Bloomberg subsidiary that provides information to lawyers and labor relations experts. Last year, at least 17 employers imposed lockouts, telling their workers not to show up until they were willing to accept management’s contract offer.

In the midst of the Second Great Depression, capital has become more militant in hills, slums, and factories around the world.

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