Friday, September 03, 2010

European Corporate Hypocrisy in the United States

Some leading European corporations that embrace worker rights at home violate those rights aggressively in their U.S. operations, Human Rights Watch charged in a report issued September 2.

The failure to “walk their talk” is documented in the 128-page report titled “A Strange Case: Violations of Workers’ Freedom of Association in the United States by European Multinational Corporations.”

Among the violations cited in the report are:

-- forcing workers into ‘captive audience’ meetings to hear anti-union harangues while prohibiting pro-union voices.
-- threatening dire consequences if workers form unions.
-- threatening to permanent replace workers who exercise the right to strike.
-- spying on union organizers.
-- even firing workers who support organizing efforts at companies.

Companies cited include Germany-based Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile USA and Deutsche Post's DHL, UK-based Tesco's Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets and G4S Wackenhut security, France-based Sodexo food services and Saint-Gobain industrial equipment, Norway-based Kongsberg Automotive, and the Dutch firm Gamma Holding.

Violations found in these companies “call into question the efficacy of corporate social responsibility mechanisms, “ the report states, and makes a series of recommendations to all parties involved: European multinationals operating in the U.S., the U.S. government, the European Commission, European governments, and the OECD.
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