Iraqi Labor

The media conversation about the goings-on in Iraq doesn’t get much beyond the religious divisions and political executions. When it does, it certainly doesn’t make the front pages.

Over the weekend my Radio Labor Start Podcast feed included a recent episode of building bridges, the labor radio program from WBAI in NYC and an old favorite of mine. I expected the usual discussion of labor organizing in the US. But this episode featured a labor leader from Iraq.

Complete with translator, the IRaqi talked about the struggle of organized labor since the early 20th century in Iraq. Beyond that, he spoke about how the current government is passing laws that allow labor organizers to be arrested, tortured, and killed. While workers for sectors like oil and power, struggle to organize themselves and demand a living wage.

While we’ve long read about how terrible this current Iraqi government is, I hadn’t heard about it’s despicable labor policies. It is as if part of bringing “freedom” to Iraq involves making sure the labor movement is destroyed.

Highly recommended listening.