Deriteks union in Turkey, a League affiliate, has had a resounding victory against Nike and Adidas supplier ETF factory in Istanbul!
Workers producing apparel for Nike & Adidas have been trying for a year to successfully organize with Deriteks union in Istanbul. Toward the beginning of their campaign, workers at the around 400-person factory faced heavy retaliation from factory management in their struggle for union representation. 5 union leaders were fired for their organizing activities, a blow to workers' morale. Deriteks, understanding the powerful role brands play in their relationships with suppliers, pressured Nike and Adidas to live up to their codes of conduct, which include Freedom of Association for their workers. Soon after Deriteks approached the buyer brands, the factory management was forced to rehire the unfairly fired workers.
The rehiring of the union leaders showed workers the power they hold in their workplaces, and a quickly increasing number of workers began to join the union. Foremen at ETF then tried threats to force workers to end their organizing activities, but after Deriteks again reminded Nike of their code of conduct responsibilities and Nike was forced to step in end the threats. After several months of negotiations, ETF workers with Deriteks have finally negotiated a Collective Bargaining Agreement!
Congratulations to Deriteks! Understanding the importance of strong, democratic union organization and the powerful role of brands in the apparel industry were key to their success in this important victory.
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