Monday, January 26, 2009

The following appeal directed to the Russell Athletic company is from the United Students Against Sweatshops.
Russell: Stop Threats of Violence Against Honduran Workers!:
Worker activists in Honduras are about to lose their jobs and are being threatened with violence! In 2007, workers at a garment factory called Jerzees de Honduras, won a hard-fought struggle for union representation - an unprecedented victory in an industry where workers' rights are rarely respected.
Unfortunately, Russell Athletic has moved to destroy the union at Jerzees de Honduras by announcing that they are closing their factory. Just recently, human rights groups have received credible reports of union leaders being threatened with violence, which workers believe is directly related to the closure of the factory. Russell has been asked, at a bare minimum, to delay the closure of Jerzees de Honduras until mechanisms are in place to ensure the safety of of union members and leaders - yet Russell to date, has not been willing to do something as simple as this! The closure of Jerzees de Honduras is a direct result of the predatory business practices of Russell, and such behavior cannot be tolerated. Tell Russell Athletic that they must, by whatever means necessary, ensure that threats against workers immediately stop, that the factory be reopened at full capacity, and its union members remain employed! YOUR ONLINE ACTION IS URGENTLY NEEDED - ALL IT TAKES IS A FEW CLICKS...
Please go to THIS LINK to send the following letter.

Send a letter to the following decision maker(s): Russell Athletic
Below is the sample letter:
Subject: Stop Threats of Violence Against Union Leaders & Keep Jerzees de Honduras Open!
Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],
I am writing today to express my outrage over the planned closure of the Jerzees de Honduras factory in Honduras, and recent reports of violence against union activists. As I am sure you are well aware, the workers of Jerzees de Honduras, with support of students and universities in the United States, recently won a hard-fought struggle for union recognition. Jerzees de Honduras had become one of the few unionized factories in Russell's supply chain, 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 labor rights are actually 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 hav e 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 respected and upheld, you have shown not just a lack of commitment to the basic principles that are supposedly protected by your company's 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 under dignified working conditions, and if the se standards are to be more than just a public relations ploy, then it is imperative that you reopen Jerzees de Honduras at full capacity as soon as possible, and ensure that the union workers remain employed. Additionally, I am absolutely appalled to hear of credible threats against the lives of union activists connected to the closure of Jerzees de Honduras. Russell Athletic must do everything within its power to ensure that these threats of violence cease immediately, or your company will be seen by me, and the rest of the international community, as a corporation that blatantly disregards both the safety of workers and their rights to freedom of association in your supply chain.
cc:Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren E. Buffett
FLA CEO Auret van Heerdan
FLA Executive Director Jorge Perez-Lopez
FLA President and CEO Auret van Heerden
NGO & University Representatives to the FLA Board of Directors

No comments: