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WednesdayAugust 10, 2011

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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Minority Farmer Advisory Committee to Hold Its First Meeting Today

Minority Farmer Advisory Committee to Hold Its First Meeting Today

Photo: 1st Meeting of Minority Farmer Advisory Committee to Be Held

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This Thursday and Friday, August 11-12, the members of USDA’s Minority Farmer Advisory Committee will meet for the first time to discuss efforts to increase minority participation in Department programs and services. The establishment of this committee builds upon existing cultural transformation initiatives underway and will help ensure fair and equal access to USDA services. Members will advise Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on additional ways the Department can continue building an inclusive future with targeted outreach and assistance to minority and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

The Minority Farmer Advisory Committee is authorized under the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill) and will advise the Secretary on “implementation of section 2501 of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990; methods of maximizing the participation of minority farmers and ranchers in USDA programs; and civil rights activities within the Department as such activities relate to participants in such programs.”

Members of the committee are appointed for two year terms by the Secretary. The nominees include socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers; representatives of nonprofit organizations that work with minority farmers and ranchers; civil rights professionals; representatives from institutions of higher learning; and other persons the Secretary deems appropriate.

Paula Garcia, New Mexico Acequia Association, Mora, N.M, Omar Garza, U.S. Mexico Border Coalition, St. Elena, Texas, Richard Molinar, University of California, Reedley, Calif. and Baldemar Velasquez, Farm Labor Organizing Committee, Toledo, Ohio are some of the Hispanic members.

Under Secretary Vilsack’s leadership, USDA is addressing civil rights complaints that go back decades to resolve allegations of past discrimination and usher in “a new era of civil rights” for the Department. In February 2010, the Secretary announced the Pigford II settlement with African American farmers, and in October 2010, he announced the Keepseagle settlement with Native American farmers. In February 2011, Secretary Vilsack announced the establishment of a process to resolve the claims of Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers.

Read more by HS News Staff →

U.S. Men National Team vs Mexico, Final Score 1:1 (VIDEO)

U.S. Men National Team vs Mexico, Final Score 1:1 (VIDEO)

Photo: USA vs Mexico in Men's Soccer

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The U.S. Men’s National Team took on Mexico in a friendly match at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia tonight with a final score of 1:1.  In the 17th minute of the match Mexican forward Oribe Peralta took a nice cross from team mate Andres Guardado to score - take a look.  While Robbie Rogers scored in the second half for the U.S. team. 

Mexico had brought back the players that played in the Gold Cup to insure themselves a victory and hoping that not having Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez who is recouping from a prior injury, wouldn’t matter.


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AZ Governor Jan Brewer Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Overturn Hold on SB1070

AZ Governor Jan Brewer Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Overturn Hold on SB1070

Photo: Arizona takes SB1070 to Supreme Court

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Arizona Governor Jan Brewer fulfilled her promise to fight for the enactment of SB 1070, the state’s strict immigration bill, in its totality all the way to the Supreme Court.  Late today she filed an appeal with the Supreme Court to overturn a lower state court ruling that put on hold on certain portions of the bill.

In July of last year a state district court had blocked key elements of the bill including the requirement that law enforcement could stop anyone they suspected of being in the country illegally and giving them the right to ask for someone’s papers.  Brewer went to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the hold and her appeal was denied.  She had until today to take her fight to the Supreme Court and she did.

The U.S. Government, numerous immigrant advocacy organizations, the Mexican-American Legal Defense & Education Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union had filed suit against Arizona to stop SB 1070 from going into effect. 

“Arizona bears the brunt of the problems caused by illegal immigration [and] is the gateway to nearly half of the nation’s illegal border crossings,” said former Solicitor General Paul Clement on behalf of the state.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Immigrant Advocates Say Chicago Officers are Violating Sanctuary City Policy

Chicago has been one of the nation’s many Sanctuary Cities, in which local officers are told not to enforce federal immigration laws. Monday however, in protest of the deportation of undocumented immigrants, 30 area families pr officers have been violating that policy and reporting to federal immigration officials.

A priest from Little Village, a predominantly Hispanic Chicago neighborhood, gave examples of families in the area of who have been affected by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials being alerted when family members are arrested for minor offenses. This practice is in direct violation of sanctuary city policy.

“There is a ordinance of sanctuary in force in the county that bars asking about the immigration status of people in custody or police doing the work of immigration,” the priest, Rev. Jose Landaverde of Our Lady of Guadalupe Anglican Mission told EFE.

Chicago officials have said they are considering ended their cooperation with ICE, and advocates of that decision say the city will benefit from the money not spent holding those suspected of being undocumented while they await ICE arrival. It was also pointed out that if the sanctuary city policy is upheld the dozens of lawsuits brought on by violations of the policy would stop, and the money used on the defense against such lawsuits would be put to better.

Read more at LAHT →

Check Out the World’s Longest Motorcycle for All Your Familia (VIDEO)

Check Out the World’s Longest Motorcycle for All Your Familia (VIDEO)

Photo: World's Longest Motorcycle

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Planning a summer road trip? Why not ride with tíos, primos, abuelos, hermanos, sobrinos and el perro atop the World’s Longest Motorcycle?

The bike, designed by Colin Furze seats up to 25 passengers and can reach speeds of 35mph.

The bike, constructed as three separate pieces in Furze’s parents yard, was awarded the official Guinness Record for the World’s Longest Bike last month, after Furze drove it for about a mile, quite the feat, considering that at low speeds it’s almost impossible to keep upright, and it’s moped steering system has to be killer on the arms, imagine turning left on a 72 foot bike!

Read more by HS News Staff →

NY Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony Opens Sports Complex in Puerto Rico

NY Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony Opens Sports Complex in Puerto Rico

Photo: Carmelo Anthony

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NBA star Carmelo Anthony inaugurated a new sports center in Puerto Rico over the weekend.

Anthony, 27, whose father is Puerto Rican, created the nonprofit organization, the Carmelo Anthony Foundation, to give back to under-served communities.

This sports complex in eastern Puerto Rico is the second he and his foundation have opened in on the island. The first was completed in July 2010 in La Perla’s San Juan district.

Though the new complex does have a roof, it has not stopped children from playing basketball in the rain.

“We’re working on putting a roof on both courts,” Anthony told reporters.

The latest complex was created through making improvements to the existing Lomas housing project courts in Loquillo.

During the inauguration ceremony, Anthony was presented with keys to the city of Loquillo, and was named a distinguished visitor.

The New York Knicks player announced earlier this year that he will not being playing with Puerto Rico’s basketball team despite numerous requests to do so. Instead, he committed to playing for the USA team during the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Read more at LAHT →

Sao Paulo Says I LOVE YOU Via Post-its and Stop Motion

Sao Paulo Says I LOVE YOU Via Post-its and Stop Motion

Photo: Animation Project Sponsored by Galería Melissa

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Check out this gorgeous animation made over 5 months with 350,00 post-its, 25 animators, and more than 30,000 love notes left by fans and visitors in Brazil!

Read more by HS News Staff →

Lawsuit to Allow Non-U.S. Citizens to Donate to U.S. Politcal Campaigns Shot Down

Lawsuit to Allow Non-U.S. Citizens to Donate to U.S. Politcal Campaigns Shot Down

Photo: Lawsuit to Allow Non-U.S. Citizens to Donate to U.S. Politcal Campaigns Shot Down

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Monday, a three-judge court ruled that the ban on the majority of foreign donations to U.S. political campaigns is constitutional.

Federal law states that donations to political parties or campaigns must come from U.S. citizens and permanent-resident aliens.

Monday’s ruling by a panel of two district court judges and one appeals court judge struck down a lawsuit filed on behalf of a Canadian man and a Canadian-Israeli woman who work and live in the U.S. Since the pair do not have permanent residence in America, they are not permitted to donate.

One of the panel members, Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh wrote, “The Supreme Court has drawn a fairly clear line: the government may exclude foreign citizens from activities ‘intimately related to the process of democratic self-government.” His opinion, which was shared by the other two judges, District Court Judges Ricardo Urbina and Rosemary Collyer, went on to say, “Politicial contributions and express-advocacy expenditures are an integral aspect of the process by which Americans elect officials to federal, state, and local government offices.”

Kavanaugh added, “It is fundamental to the definition of our national political community that foreign citizens do not have a constitutional right to participate in, and thus may be excluded from, activities of democratic self-government.”

The ruling may be appealed straight to the U.S. Supreme Court. The lawyers for the Canadians said they are considering it as an option.

Read more at Politico →

LATINO BLOTTER:  Former Miss El Paso USA Arrested for Shoplifting a $69 Shirt!

LATINO BLOTTER:  Former Miss El Paso USA Arrested for Shoplifting a $69 Shirt!

Photo: Lorena Tavera

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Lorena Tavera, a former pageant winner allegedly left a El Paso department store before paying for a shirt tucked inside her plastic shopping bag.

The winner of 2008’s El Paso beauty pageant was held by Dillard’s employees outside the store Friday night, until police arrived and arrested her for allegedly stealing a $69 shirt. She posted bail on Saturday.  As Miss El Paso she went on to compete in the Miss Texas competition in hopes of competing for Miss USA - she came in 6th place.  Current reports have indicated she is a modeling instructor while attending the University of Texas, El Paso. 

The 21-year old beauty who also won the 2006 Miss El Paso Teen, told NewsChannel 9 over the phone that she was going to “contact my lawyer; This story can’t be run. The story is wrong first of all. It’s been misconstrued and it’s twisted, so I need to contact my lawyer… I can’t talk to you until I talk to my lawyer.”

Police said Tavera also had two traffic warrants.

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Government Silence Prompts New Wave of Protests in Chile (VIDEO)

Close to 400 students were arrested yesterday when the peaceful pot-banging protests turned to looting, arson and violence. Image

Authorities said 55 police-men and 23 civilians were wounded during the protests.

At least 15,000 Chilean students (mostly high school aged) rallied in Santiago alone, and some 500,000 nation wide demanding a better education policy.

ImageLast Thursday, the student organization Confech that has been organizing the marches, gave the Chilean government six days to give them a “real answer” to their petitions. So far, the government has refused to negotiate.

During the more than two months that Chilean students have been in protest, schools have been taken over, students refuse to attend classes, and numerous demonstrations have been staged in hopes to permeating the Chilean education system and public opinion and laying the grounds for crucial changes in the way the Chilean government finances public education. Image

Because of failed bureaucratic schemes and the destruction left behind from last year’s earthquake and tsunami, underfunded municipalities have been left in charge of high school education nationwide.  As a result, most schools struggle for resources, while wealthy private schools that cater to Chile’s small upper class, receive first class resources and can afford to bring their institutions to standards needed to opt for further investment, or financial incentives.

Students are demanding transparency in the financial affairs of education and an increase on the percentage of the gross domestic product that goes into education, as well as equal access to quality education for everyone, with no distinctions between rich, poor, young, old or disabled.

Also on the table are petitions to the education ministry to assume the cost of the public transportation of students and to examine the current student loan repayment plans, interest rates and scholarship programs.

Last week police arrested some 900 students marching in Santiago, after the government banned the protests. During yesterday’s march, students flooded the alleys and side streets of the capital in an effort to abide to the government’s ban on protesting in the city’s main avenues.

Demonstrations during the last few months have been for the most part peaceful, with students dancing, singing, banging on pots and pans, waving banners, and staging clever performance protests, like dancing Michael Jackson’s Thriller in masse, dressed as zombies, symbolizing the “rotten” government officials in office. Image

Lately, marches have tended to turn awry as the government urges police to dissipate the crowds, or when opportunists use the momentary chaos caused by a quarter of a million people concentrated in the streets to loot, riot and vandalize.

Despite not having offered solutions, alternatives or any kind of answers to the students, Education Minister Felipe Bulnes is concerned about the thousands of students that face failing the school year, as they are either protesting, or unable to attend classes because their schools have been taken over. 

Bulnes released a plan on Wednesday, with three alternatives for students to keep up their grades. Image

One, for students in schools that have been taken over to resume their schooling sharing infrastructures with schools that have not been taken over.

The second option would be for some of these schools to begin operating in alternate locations, like gyms, or libraries. Image

In case none of the other options can be put into practice, Bulnes suggested that students be allowed to study on their own at home, and take a test at the end of the year to determine their transition onto the next grade.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Mexican Beauty Queen Loses Crown, Claims Gaining 6lbs Angered Pageant Officials

Mexican Beauty Queen Loses Crown, Claims Gaining 6lbs Angered Pageant Officials

Photo: Cynthia de la Vega alleges she lost crown due to weight gain

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Cynthia de la Vega was crowned runner up in the Nuestra Belleza Mexico competition. Holding that title, she was to go on to compete in the Miss World (the first place finisher competes for the Miss Universe title), but after gaining a bit of weight, De la Vega says she was stripped of her title.

De la Vega, 19, said organizers dropped her from the pageant after saying she had gained too much weight.

Not willing to settle for that decision, De la Vega held a press conference claiming she was unfairly booted for gaining just 6 lbs.

In response however, Lupita Jones, head of Nuestra Belleza said, “The training of a beauty queen is equivalent to the training of an athlete – there is no cutting corners on sleep, a zero tolerance for alcohol, and long hours of preparation.”

She added that continuing to work with De la Vega “was a risk we couldn’t take.”

While De la Vega would like her crown back, the pageant has already replaced her with Gabriela Palacio, who will represent Mexico in the Miss World pageant November 6th in London, England.

Read more by HS News Staff →

JUST IN:  ‘Lopez Tonight’ Cancelled Last Episode Tomorrow

George Lopez’s late night talk show, “Lopez Tonight” on TBS has been canceled effectively immediately and the last episode will air tomorrow.

The cable network decided not to proceed with a third season of the Mexican-American comedienne’s show.

Lopez has been making entertainment history by being the first Latino to headline a television series with his “The George Lopez Show” and being the first Latino late night talk show host with “Lopez Tonight”.  With his first cancellation Lopez quipped TV just got a lot “whiter.”

The official statement from TBS read as follows:

“TBS has reached the difficult decision not to order a third season of Lopez Tonight. Thursday will be the final episode of the show. We are proud to have partnered with George Lopez, who is an immensely talented comedian and entertainer. TBS has valued its partnership with George and appreciates all of his work on behalf of the network, both on and off the air.”

 

Read more by HS News Staff →

JUST IN: Jennifer Lopez Confirmed to Return to American Idol for Second Season

JUST IN: Jennifer Lopez Confirmed to Return to American Idol for Second Season

Photo: J Lo officially returning to American Idol

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“American Idol” executive producer Nigel Lythgoe has confirmed that Jennifer Lopez will definitely be returning the Fox show for a second season.

“I am delighted to say that all three judges, along with the brilliant host of ‘American Idol’ is back for the next season,” Lythgoe said Wednesday on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show.

Just last week, The Wrap reported that insiders had shared that Lopez would be returning to the show with a substantial raise, though Lythgoe’s announcement Wednesday morning was the official confirmation.

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August 1, 2011


The Wrap is reporting that Jennifer Lopez has inked a deal to return to ‘American Idol’ as a judge.  It is also being reported that the Puerto-Rican beauty is getting a whopper raise from the Fox Network. 

Jenny from the Block laid down the Latina law – pay me $20 million or I go adios – and they paid.  Lopez made $12 million last season.  She is definitely busy from putting the finishing touches on several movie projects while working on her joint venture with ex Marc Anthony - “Q’Viva!” and then of course there’s her singing career.

Insiders are noting that most of the details are done on the J Lo - Fox Network deal it just needs to be signed. 

Read more at The Wrap →

Artist Unveils Sculpture of Nude Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber

Artist Unveils Sculpture of Nude Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber

Photo: Artist Unveils Sculpture of Nude Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber

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Sculptor Daniel Edwards has stirred up controversy once more with Tuesday’s unveiling of his sculpture depicting Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber naked.

ImageThe sculpture dubbed ‘Justin and Selena as One’ shows Gomez and Bieber completely nude but for a maple leaf covering Bieber’s crotch - indicative of his Canadian heritage – and a star over Gomez’s genitalia, as she hails from the Lone Star state of Texas. The two appear to be sharing three legs, with almost their entire bodies fused together.

ImageEdwards has previously raised eyebrows with his sculptures, one of them depicting Britney Spears giving birth. Others include a Charlie Sheen bust accompanied by two Tigger heads, Angelina Jolie breastfeeding her twins, an autopsy being performed on Paris Hilton (while her dog watches), a nude Oprah looking Tutankhamun -esque, and a piece said to represent a bronzed version of “Suri Cruise’s First Poop.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

(R) Sen. Orrin Hatch Ditches DREAMer’s at Campaign Office & Calls Police on Them

(R) Sen. Orrin Hatch Ditches DREAMer’s at Campaign Office & Calls Police on Them

Photo: DREAM Act Students

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The Republican senior Senator from Utah was hosting an ‘open’ house at one of his campaign offices that apparently wasn’t that open and friendly to DREAM Act students that showed up.

Several DREAMer came with the hope of meeting with the Senator and discussing the DREAM Act and reminding him that 10 years ago this month he sponsored the original Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, in the Senate.

Not only did the Republican Senator not meet and greet with the dozen or so students he had an aid divert their attention so he could slip out of the open house.  To add insult to injury staffers called police on the students, in spite of their being no protests or acts of civil disobedience. 

Campaign Manager Dave Hansen apologized for the three patrol cars and 6 or so officers posted inside the campaign office.  He didn’t apologize for calling them but rather that so many showed up.  The police did confiscate the cupcakes the DREAMer’s brought with them to commemorate the DREAM Act anniversary.

Hatch was an original supporter of a bill to help certain undocumented students gain legal status through school enrollment or military service, even going as far to urge that these very students not be deported.  Now he is adamantly opposed to its passage. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

UPDATE: Suspect Named in Connection With Facundo Cabral’s Murder

UPDATE: Suspect Named in Connection With Facundo Cabral’s Murder

Photo: Folk Facundo Cabral Assasinated in Guatemala

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UPDATE:  Costa Rican Alejandro Jiménez Gonzalez has been named as the main suspect in connection with the murder of the singer Facundo Cabral, last month in Guatemala.

Jiménez is the leader of an organized crime group involved in money laundering throughout Central America.

Costa Rican authorities believe the July 9th attack was aimed at Henry Farinas—who was driving Cabral and survived, and that Jiménez staged the ambush in retaliation over the theft of illegal drug money. Police suspect the killer fled to Panama.

Three other suspects remain detained in Guatemala in connection with the attack.

ORIGINAL STORY:   As most of Argentina was celebrating its independence day came the tragic news that one of its cultural treasures, folk singer Facundo Cabral had been shot to death in Guatemala City Saturday.

The 74-year singer apparently was en route to the airport from his hotel with his own security detailing following his car.  That is when thee carloads of men surrounded his car and started firing.  Cabral was killed and his promoter and driver were injured. 

Authorities are saying the concert promoter, Henry Farinas, was the intended target of this well-planned and well-executed ambush. 

Cabral was also a poet and philosopher who wrote songs of peace and love. Many considered him the conscious of Argentina, so much so that Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom called Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner directly to tell her of the killing.  His music was well known throughout Latin America. 

The senseless killing of one of Latin America’s most famous folk singers has caused outraged and grief around the world. He was recognized in 1996 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as a “World Peace Messenger.”

Cabral rose to fame during the 1970’s and his music associated with the Nueva Cancion genre,  identified as a protest singer during the country’s dark period of military rule.  He was forced to flee Argentina at that time and lived in Mexico for many years. 

 


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UPDATE: Anti-Technology Group in Mexico IDed in Campus Bombing that Injured 2 Professors

UPDATE: Anti-Technology Group in Mexico IDed in Campus Bombing that Injured 2 Professors

Photo: Bomb Explodes on Monterrey Institute of Technology Campus

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UPDATE:  “Individuals Tending to the Savage,” a Mexican anti-technology group admitted responsibility for Monday’s explosion in Monterrey’s Institute of Technology State of Mexico campus.

Two professors were hurt in the episode, Alejandro Aceves López and Armando Herrera Corral. Neither sustained life-threatening injuries.

The “Individuals Tending to the Savage” has said to identify with the ideas of terrorist Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, and oppose the development of neo and nanotechnologies at a global scale; the group believes nanotechnology is a system of domination, and that experiments in nanotechnology are being used to cause earthquakes and other natural disasters. The ITS also has branches in France, Spain and Chile.

ORIGINAL STORY:   Mexico City authorities are reporting a package bomb exploded at the Monterrey Institute of Technology, State of Mexico campus injuring two. 

The package was addressed to robotics professor Alejandro Aceves Lopez and delivered to him via a local messenger service. When Lopez opened the package, it exploded, injuring him and another professor.

The bomb appeared to be homemade and is said to be the first explosion of this kind to occur on a Mexican university campus. 

All classes were cancelled and the investigation continues into motive and suspects. 

Read more by HS News Staff →

Brazilian Elevator Drops 262 Feet Killing 9 Onboard

Brazilian Elevator Drops 262 Feet Killing 9 Onboard

Photo: Salvador Bahia, Brazil

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An elevator accident in Salvador, Bahia Brazil has left nine people dead early Tuesday morning.

The accident happened at the construction site of a 32-story building in the Iguatemi area of the city.  Nine construction employees were riding the elevator up to the 20th floor of the building when it didn’t stop and hit a cable on the top floor. 

The impact caused the elevator cage to become unhinged from the suspension cable and freefall down 262.4 feet to the ground, killing all aboard.  The Segura Construction company vows the elevator was working properly before the accident.

Local authorities that are investigating believe the elevator was either overloaded or suffered a mechanical failure before falling.  All work on the high rise has been stopped indefinitely.

Read more at Wire Update →

U.S. to Establish Arbitration Panel to Determine if Guatemala Violated Its Trade Agreement

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk is affirming that the U.S. is requesting a panel to settle the issue that Guatemala has failed to protect workers’ rights as it is required to do under a free-trade agreement.

The one year old issue involved actions take by Guatemala that violated the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).  The panel if it finds that Guatemala indeed failed to protect worker’s rights could face millions in fines.  The Obama administration is trying to move past this issue so that it can obtain approval for three other free trade pacts that are years delayed.

The free trade pacts with Colombia, Panama and South Korea are due to be reviewed once again by Congress later this year.  Hence the administration wants to show that it enforces violations of free-trade agreements with its partners. 

Guatemala is alleged to have denied certain workers their right to organize and collectively bargain back in 2008.  In 2010 the U.S. started formal discussions with Guatemala on the matter but was not able to come to any conclusion on the matter. 

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis issued the following statement on the matter:

“I applaud U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk’s decision today to request the establishment of an arbitral panel under the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement in a dispute regarding the government of Guatemala’s failure to effectively enforce its labor laws.

“This unprecedented step demonstrates the Obama administration’s determination to enforce the labor obligations that form an integral part of the United States’ free trade agreements. This is the first labor case brought to dispute settlement by the United States under a free trade agreement. We are committed to ensuring that U.S. businesses and workers compete on a level playing field.

“Guatemala’s persistent failure to address the systemic problems with its labor law enforcement has left the United States with no choice other than to pursue this enforcement action.”

Read more at Reuters →

National Labor Relations Board Lacks Authority to Award Backpay to Undocumented Immigrant Workers

The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court decision compels the conclusion that the Board lacks remedial authority to award backpay to undocumented immigrant workers whose rights have been violated under the National Labor Relations Act, even in cases where their illegal status was known to the employer at the time of hiring.

A three-member panel of the Board – Chairman Wilma B. Liebman and Members Mark Gaston Pearce and Brian Hayes – issued the unanimous decision in Mezonos Maven Bakery, with Member Craig Becker recused. The Board cited broad language in the Supreme Court decision, Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB, 535 U.S. 137(2002), which made clear that “awarding backpay to undocumented workers lies beyond the scope of [the Board’s] remedial authority, regardless of whether the employee or employer violated” the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA). View the decision here.

In a concurring opinion, Chairman Liebman and Member Pearce agreed that Hoffmanis controlling authority and thus precludes backpay here.  But they reviewed the policy implications of that result, writing that, “in addition to the obvious failure to make employee-victims whole[,] the Act’s enforcement is undermined, employees are chilled in the exercise of their Section 7 rights, the workforce is fragmented, and a vital check on workplace abuses is removed.” Law-abiding employers who must compete with immigration-law violators also may be harmed, they wrote. 

The seven employees in question worked for Mezonos Maven Bakery in Brooklyn for up to eight years, and were not asked for documentation when they were hired. They were fired on February 12, 2003, after complaining as a group about treatment they were receiving from a supervisor.  Unfair labor practice charges were filed, the parties settled, and the Board issued an unpublished Decision and Order pursuant to a formal settlement stipulation.  The Board ordered Mezonos, among other things, to offer reinstatement and to make the employees whole for lost wages and benefits, and that order was enforced by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

However, Mezonos later argued that it could not offer reinstatement or backpay under the Hoffman decision because the workers were undocumented. On November 1, 2006, Administrative Law Judge Steven Davis decided against the employer, finding that in this case (unlike Hoffman), it was not the workers but the employer who violated IRCA by failing to verify their work authorization status. That decision was appealed to the Board, resulting in the current decision.

Read more by HS News Staff →



WednesdayAugust 10, 2011