Policy Brief - Fibiger 1 TO: Charlotte M. Ponticelli,...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–4. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Fibiger 1 TO: Charlotte M. Ponticelli, Deputy Under Secretary for International Affairs at the United States Department of Labor’s International Labor Affairs Bureau FROM: RE: The exploitation of workers and the environmental violations occurring on Bridgestone Firestone LLC’s rubber plantation in Liberia. DATE: March 12, 2008 This brief serves as summary as to how we may ameliorate the conditions for workers as well as the environmental destruction caused because of Bridgestone Firestone LLC’s rubber plantation in Liberia. Background: Bridgestone Firestone LLC has owned a rubber plantation in Liberia since 1926. Two civil wars (one lasting from 1989-1996, the second from 1999-2003) have ravaged the country’s infrastructure, leaving no oversight, governmental or otherwise, of powerful, greedy corporate multinationals operating inside the country (except, of course, NGOs who generally lack the necessary funding or legitimacy for such a large task). The problems at the plantation include the exploitation of workers and the use of toxic pesticides that cause serious environmental damage.
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Fibiger 2 The principal violations of labor law occurring at the plantation include the imposition of an obscene quota of rubber that each employee must meet every day; it takes one person approximately twenty-one hours to meet said quota. In light of this, employees are more often than not forced to bring their family members (usually children) to work with them. These children are forced to labor for twelve to fourteen hours every day, and rarely have access to proper nutrition because of the disgustingly low wages (International Labor Rights Forum 2007). They are unable to receive a proper education because of the amount of time they are forced to be on the plantation, effectively nullifying any chances they have for advancing their socioeconomic status. This creates a self-perpetuating cycle in which workers are uneducated, illiterate, and therefore unable to read what they are paid (which usually includes significant deductions for housing and food). The system creates a mass of people who cannot perform any other job than that of rubber tapper, and are therefore wholly dependent on their job on the plantation as their sole source of money for food. Workers are also unable to effectively unionize; he first free union elections were held in 2007, but the factory’s management is refusing to meet with the democratically elected leadership (Stop Firestone 2008). The labor situation in Liberia effectively constitutes modern-day slavery and it is our moral imperative to ameliorate it. The environmental situation as a result of the Liberian plantation is not as dire as the labor situation, yet it still warrants our immediate attention and action. The plantation makes excessive use of dangerous pesticides (which workers, children or otherwise are
Background image of page 2
Fibiger 3 frequently exposed to) that contaminate nearby water supplies. The primary contaminated site is the Farmington River, located adjacent to the massive Firestone
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 4
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This essay was uploaded on 04/10/2008 for the course GLOBAL STU 2 taught by Professor Appelbaum during the Winter '08 term at UCSB.

Page1 / 10

Policy Brief - Fibiger 1 TO: Charlotte M. Ponticelli,...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 4. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online