JANUARY 02, 2013
With 12 million Americans out of work the government agency responsible for advancing opportunities for profitable employment has gone on a frantic year-end spending spree, doling out tens of millions of dollars to foreign causes that won’t put a dent in the nation’s unemployment crisis.
In the last few weeks of 2012, the Obama Department of Labor (DOL) generously dedicated nearly $40 million to global initiatives unlikely to help workers in this country. The money will go to efforts that strengthen unions and help combat child labor in African, central and South American countries. This includes $10 million to combat the prevalence of child labor in agriculture and domestic service in Tanzania and $5 million to battle it in Burkina Faso’s cotton production and gold mining industries.
The South American allotment—$5.35 million—will support the socialist government of Brazil in its effort to crackdown on forced child labor, which is “abhorrent” and “cannot be tolerated,” according to Obama Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. Victims and their households will be linked to social and livelihood programs, as per a DOL announcement. A portion of the cash will also go to Peru, where evidently child labor is also a problem
Additionally, the DOL gave an international labor organization a separate $10 million grant to help combat the labor abuse of “vulnerable groups” in Ecuador and Panama. This will target Afro-descendant, indigenous and migrant populations. The same international labor organization also got an extra $5 million from Uncle Sam to reduce child domestic work in four provinces of Indonesia. This will be accomplished by building the capacity of domestic worker organizations and promoting decent work for domestic workers.
A few days later the DOL gave a leftist labor group, the American Center for International Labor Solidarity, $2.2 million to strengthen “worker organizations” (can you say unions?) in Haiti and Peru. Solis says it will help vulnerable Haitians and Peruvians “engage in productive, effective negotiations with government and employers.” The agency capped the year by giving a Colombian union $1.5 million to strengthen labor rights in that South American country. All the cash was doled out in the last few days of 2012! In mid-October the DOL dedicated $1.5 million to promote collective bargaining and improve labor relations in Vietnam.
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