December 7, 2015

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Hello, everyone!

We’ve talked before about the great strides that Unions have made in safeguarding the rights of workers, helping women achieve equal status and protecting children from exploitation. Much progress has been made, but there is still a lot of work to do.

At the end of September, a lawsuit was filed against Nestle, Mars and Hershey, alleging that the companies are using child slave labour in their supply chain for cocoa harvesting, according to an article in The Daily Beast. The Ivory Coast in West Africa produces two-thirds of the cocoa beans used in the world, feeding a chocolate industry worth $90 billion – and much of it is on the backs children and slaves.

What can we do to help? For starters, we can stop supporting companies that rely on child labour and slavery to ensure a healthy profit margin. This means ensuring that the chocolate we indulge in is not made from cocoa sourced in the Ivory Coast. That can be tough to do, but it may be easier than deciding to eat no more chocolate until things change.

Unfortunately, things are not likely to change soon without pressure from consumers and other groups, like, who work to pressure companies to end child slavery and child labour in the cocoa industry. Nestle and other candy companies have been aware of the issue for who knows how long, and they promised to remedy the situation – 14 years ago, and little has changed.

As union members, we should oppose the cruel and unfair labour practices taking place in the cocoa industry. As human beings, we should be incensed that children are being treated the way they are. Even as things for us are pretty good, we need to remain vigilant in our support of people around the world.

For a listing of chocolate companies who do not use child labour or forced labour, click here.

What do you think about this? What actions, if any, will you take? Let us know here.


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