The Panamanian Labor Movement and the Canal Expansion

By Duckworth, Catie | Washington Report on the Hemisphere, July 27, 2012 | Go to article overview

The Panamanian Labor Movement and the Canal Expansion


Duckworth, Catie, Washington Report on the Hemisphere


The protests following the Panamanian government's decision to privatize social security in 2005 has sparked a wave of social unrest, extending to organized labor. The government's unwillingness to capitulate to workers' demands, even with labor and trade union strikes, has forced unions to work even harder to provide minimal benefits to their members. Several of COHA' s research associates recently interviewed, Vladimir Small, vice president of Unión de Ingenieros Marinos (UIN), which is a Panamanian affiliate of the maritime union called the Marine Engineers' Beneficial Association (MEBA), on the current labor situation in Panama. Regarding the struggle for workers' rights he said, "We try to keep communicawith all the union brothers the transportation moveSolidarity is all about your brother beside And right now, the govis attacking us on all It's an unfair fight."

Panamanian government offiare notorious for corrupt practices; therefore, recent allegations of unscrupulous dealings with the sector hardly elicit any surprise. However, governmental involvement in the labor sector currently deprives thousands of workers from their rightful benefits. Without substantial policy adjustments, President Ricardo Martinelli's legacy will be marked by even more strident allegations of corruption and the marginalization of Panama's working class.

Expansion of the Canal

In 2007, the Panamanian government began a $5.25 billion USD operation to expand and widen the Panama Canal. The expansion and new passageway will allow larger vessels to sail between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Although domestic revenue provides over half of the funding, soft loans from multilateral agencies will finance the remainder of the project. Currently, the United Group, a regional buying group established in 1983, is responsible for contracting the construction workers to build the third set of locks that will expand the Canal's capacity.

In January 2012, after United Group failed to live up to the agreed-upon terms of the workers' contracts, thousands of laborers involved in the Canal's construction abandoned their worksites and demanded for their back wages to be paid and their current wage rate to be raised. The walkout lasted six days and only ended when the United Group agreed to a pay raise of $3.34 USD per hour to compensate for the workers' unpaid wages.

Panama's Economic Situation

While most Panamanians agreed upon the necessity of the expansion, the current national debate revolves around whether the country has the ability to finance this project and whether this is the optimal time for such a project to be undertaken. Some critics, such as President of UIM Luis Yau Chaw, argued that this investment is too large to generate a long-term economic recovery by saying that, "five billion dollars is a lot of money for a small country." Moreover, many Panamanians harbor mixed feelings about the project's impact on the national economy and do not trust their government to take the necessary steps to ensure that the profits from the expansion will extend to the working class. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The Panamanian Labor Movement and the Canal Expansion
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.