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Americas Corporations and Consumers Need to Defend Workers Rights as Human Rights

In France, IKEA allegedly spied on its employees (customers as well) to acquire unflattering personal information. Investigations suggest that the company dug up ac!ground information on its employees to quell wor!place grievances or to prompt resignations. And, IKEA has loc!ed out (they insist it"s not a loc!out, it"s a stri!e) #$% wor!ers in &ichmond, 'ritish (olum ia, one of its two (anadian unioni)ed outlets. *he company is demanding an agreement from the union on a two+tier pay and enefit system. 'ut IKEA"s actions are not ,ust French or (anadian issues- they are issues for corporations, consumers, and wor!ers everywhere. *he dispute has attracted international attention. .or!ers in many countries have protested the /candinavian furniture retailer"s antiunion stance. In 0ecem er, unions in nine countries, including the 1nited /tates, too! actions in support of &emington"s wor!ers. 2ver this past year, IKEA also has een accused of violating wor!er"s rights in the 1nited /tates and seven other countries, including the allegations made y France. .or!ers from other countries have protested IKEA"s reprehensi le la or management practices, including violations of freedom of association. In 3olland and 'elgium, IKEA has also een accused of 4social dumping,5 which is the practice of companies moving their usiness production entities from one part of the European 1nion to another in pursuit of e6ploiting lower la or costs. In the 1nited /tates, inequality has culminated since 7898 to its highest level. A two+tier wage system violates equal pay for equal wor! and contri utes to this rise in inequality. (orporations have a responsi ility not only for the well eing of its stoc!holders and customers ut its wor!ers as well. *his includes eing fair and equita le to stoc!holders, customers, and wor!ers ut not wor!er inequality for the sa!e of one over the other. /toc!holders need to understand that the corporation they invest in will have greater sustained returns in the long run

with a well+run usiness that adheres to human right principles and respects the well eing of all concerned. (onsumers need to understand that their e6perience with usinesses who respect these principles would e greatly enhanced. All three have a mutually eneficial relationship that would contri ute to the overall success of any usiness.