Wednesday, October 15, 2008



The workers at the 'Jerzees de Honduras' factory are one of the few who have managed to organize unions. Now the management intends to "cut and run", closing the factory rather than dealing fairly with their workers. The United Students Against Sweatshops are calling for online solidarity to pressure the company to reverse their decision. Here is the story.


Keep Jerzees de Honduras Open!:
Don't let Russell Athletic cut and run from Jerzees de Honduras! This collegiate factory, which is one of the only unionized garment facilities in Honduras and is directly owned by Russell, is a concrete testament to the power of student and worker solidarity. In 2007, with strong support from students and other anti-sweatshop activists, the workers won their hard-fought struggle for union representation, an unprecedented victory. Unfortunately, Russell Athletic has moved to destroy the union at Jerzees de Honduras by announcing just six days ago on October 8th that they are closing the factory. And this happened right when Russell was in the middle of negotiations with the workers over their first contract. Because of this, the workers' gains at Jerzees de Honduras have been put in jeopardy. This closure is a direct result of the business practices of Russell, and such behavior will not be tolerated! Tell Russell Athletic that they must, by whatever means necessary, ensure that the factory be reopened and its union workers remain employed! Tell me more


Please go to THIS LINK to send the following letter to management at Jerzees de Honduras:

To: Russell Athletic CEO John Ward

Rus sell Athletic Matt Murphy

cc: Fruit of the Loom (Russell parent company) John Holland

I am writing today to express my outrage over the recent closure of the Jerzees de Honduras factory in Honduras. As I am sure you are well aware, the workers of Jerzees, with support of students and universities in the United States and Canada, recently won a struggle for union recognition. With this, Jerzees became one of the few unionized factories in Honduras, and workers began to negotiate what would have been a historic collective bargaining agreement.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of commitment by Russell Athletic, these gains were never able to materialize. As a direct result of your company's refusal to make a real commitment to a factory where the rights of workers are respected, the workers of Jerzees de Honduras are about to lose their jobs. In addition to devastating the workers and their families, this act of cutting and running on the part of Russell will have a terrible effect on the municipality of Choloma as a whole. The Jerzees de Honduras factory is one of the primary sources of employment in Choloma, and the loss of these jobs will be felt by every member of the community.

By cutting and running from one of the only factories in your entire supply chain in which the right to freedom of association is actually respected, you have shown not just a lack of commitment to the basic principles that are supposedly protected by your code of conduct, but also a complete disregard for the lives of the workers off of whose labor you profit. Given that this is not a unique case and that your company has a history of cutting and running from factories where workers attempt to exercise their rights, I am left to wonder what your stated concern for workers' rights really means.

If your company is to exhibit a real commitment to ensuring that your goods are produced in dignified working conditions, and if these standards are to be more than just a public relations ploy, then it is imperative that you immediately reopen Jerzees de Honduras at full capacity, and ensure the union workers remain employed. Anything less will be seen by me, and the rest of the international community, as a blatant disregard for freedom of association and the rights of workers throughout your supply chain.

1 comment:

Rod said...

Thanks for publicizing this important issue Molly!

-Rod Palmquist
United Students Against Sweatshops