Liberian BFS Workers Elect New Union Leaders
Workers in Liberia have elected union leadership to represent them in contract talks with Bridgestone/Firestone, the first time that workers themselves have elected their representatives. The election was monitored by representatives from the US unions United Steelworkers Union and American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations at the invitation of a government created elections commission.
The BFS plantation in Liberia has been the scene of a number of strikes in recent times and has received unfavourable reports from Western human rights organisations. The elections were thus seen by many as a positive step. In the words of the USW, “all eight elected union positions were won by militant activists who had participated in training by the USW and had led wildcat strikes over the past two years.”