Anti-Union Laws and Privatization in Iraq
Many thanks to Greg Lipman for alerting me to the David Bacon article on labor issues and privatization in Iraq. Bacon alleges that a 1987 anti-union law of the Baath is being enforced by the Coalition Provisional Authority even as it sells off state-owned Iraqi businesses to the highest bidder. Based on his interviews with them, he finds Iraqi workers fearful of the effects of privatization.
The issue of labor relations has been almost completely ignored by the mainstream US press, except where informal trade unions have intervened in politics forcefully, as in Hilla recently. Although initially some of the Arabic press reported on these issues, such articles have become scarce in that language as well, at least with regard to what is available on the Web. It is a big story, and may be the story that finally decides whether the US wins or fails in Iraq.