CEAL: Worker Justice in El Salvador

Photo: Activists from United Students Against Sweatshops march with CEAL board member Estela Ramírez.

Who is CEAL?

The Center for Labor Studies & Support (CEAL, in Spanish) trains workers how to effectively stand up for their rights on the job, and supports workers' organizations with game-changing research, help navigating the legal system, and assistance in negotiations with local & multinational companies. Their board and staff is made up of worker activists, union organizers and researchers with years of experience building grassroots movements to improve working conditions in the apparel, telecoms, food processing and other industries.

Why support CEAL?

CEAL, located in the capital city of San Salvador, provides a unique and dynamic space for workers and activists to gather, plot out their campaign plans, hold trainings for fellow workers, and practice computer skills. We are raising $1,400 so that Salvadoran workers and their unions continue to have this important space to build grassroots campaigns for economic & social justice.

Why should people in the U.S. care about labor rights in El Salvador?

The largest employers in El Salvador are corporations from the United States: Major U.S. t-shirt and underwear brands employ more workers than any other employer besides the Salvadoran government itself. Workers at these companies and others in the country's private sector are overwhelmingly paid poverty-level wages, and face constant violation of their legal rights, while the companies enjoy near-impunity.

The Central America Free Trade Agreement, signed by President George W. Bush in 2005, has allowed corporations to reap tremendous profits importing goods tax- and tariff-free, with no meaningful enforcement of labor rights for workers toiling in El Salvador. 10 years later, CAFTA has proven to be another in a long and often bloody history of policies that put U.S. business interests ahead of the Salvadoran people.

In our globalized economy, an injury to one truly is an injury to all. Multinational companies try to pit U.S. workers against workers overseas, competing over who can get the job done the cheapest. We must stand together across borders to demand an economy that works for all of us.
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Jack Mahoney 
New York, NY
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