Here, we translate a report from the El Salvador-based Center for Labor Studies & Support (CEAL in Spanish) on an important victory by ex-workers of Manufacturas Del Río. As CEAL had reported previously, the factory suddenly shut down in January without paying nearly $1.5 million (USD) owed to its 1,066 employees in wages, benefits, and severance. The workers sewed products for Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, Lacoste, Levi Strauss, and Adidas. Their union is a founding member of the Union League and joined the founding congress of the Fruit of the Loom Union Network. In El Salvador, a country where not a single apparel factory has signed a union contract, the factory's closure is widely understood as cynical retaliation against workers who dared to claim their legal right to collectively bargain. (Photo: Elected leaders of workers' union at Manufacturas Del Rio during a meeting at CEAL.)Read more
When workers join together to demand fair working conditions, Adidas contract factories seem to have a standard response: Fire the workers, blacklist them so they can't find jobs elsewhere, and threaten the rest of the workers that the same will happen to whoever else dares to organize. Despite clearly violating Adidas' Workplace Standards and local labor laws, this has happened over and over and over again.
But in past weeks, workers at three different Adidas contractors have won decisive victories over this cynical roadblock to workers' rights. At Textiles Opico in El Salvador, Joe Anne Dominicana in the Dominican Republic, and Troon Manufacturing in Nicaragua, workers won their jobs back after being fired for organizing.Read more