In Liberia, the Solidarity Center works with U.S. union partners to organize rubber workers and workers in other key extractive industries such as mining and timber.
| Liberian worker tapping latex.
The 2005 election of Liberia’s first democratic government in 14 years created the political space for workers to raise their voices about many decades of abuse in the workplace. The Solidarity Center, in partnership with the United Steelworkers union, supported a strike by workers on a vast rubber plantation who were living in near-slavery. Their homes were paper shacks with no electricity or running water. Impossibly high production quotas forced children to work alongside their parents, and workers had no protection against the raw latex that dripped into their eyes.
The USW and the Solidarity Center offered skills training and solidarity during a series of strikes that eventually led to the first free and fair union elections in the company’s history. The new union, FAWUL, signed its first contract in 2008. In July 2008 FAWUL received the AFL-CIO’s George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award in recognition of the extraordinary courage, strength, and solidarity of Liberian rubber workers.
Liberian Workers Seek to Close Wage Gap with Expats
. July 1, 2014—Contract negotiations between the United Workers Union of Liberia Local 4 and ArcelorMittal have stalled, with management refusing to agree to the wage increase the workers’ are seeking.
Oretha Tarnue: Mobilizing, Empowering Liberian Domestic Workers.
March 6, 2014—Oretha Tarnue, vice president of the United Workers Union of Liberia (UWUL) and a former domestic worker, is spearheading a drive in her country to organize domestic workers who,like their counterparts elsewhere, are routinely exploited by their employers.
Liberian Union Signs Agreement with Mining Multinational
. September 12, 2012—On August 31, the United Workers Union of Liberia (UWUL) signed an historic collective bargaining agreement with the largest mining multinational in Liberia which includes salary increases and improved benefits.
Liberia: Decent Work in Law and Practice Key to Worker Rights, Says Union Leader.
June 21, 2012—In Liberia, unions are working to ensure worker rights are preserved and protected in the country’s rubber industry and beyond.