April 22, 2009
The Ethical Trading Action Group is asking for your assistance to convince sportswear supplier Russell Athletic to get serious about remediating well-documented violations of workers’ rights at its recently closed Jerzees de Honduras (JDH) factory in Choloma, Honduras.
Please write to retailers in your city asking them to review the labour rights abuses reported at the JDH factory when considering whether to continue stocking Russell Athletic products on their store shelves.
When workers at the JDH factory in Honduras organized a union to press for their rights at work last year, factory management repeatedly told workers that the factory would be closed because of the existence and activities of the union. Factory managers encouraged employees to collect names on an anti-union petition during working hours, and discriminated against union supporters in job assignments. Finally, last fall, just days after collective bargaining negotiations reached an impasse, Russell announced it was closing the plant altogether.
While Russell Corporation insists that their only motivation for the closure was economic, two independent investigations have concluded that anti-union bias was in fact a significant factor in the decision to close the JDH factory.
We are calling on Russell to implement corrective action steps to be discussed and agreed to with the JDH workers’ union, as well as the Worker Rights Consortium and Fair Labor Association (the two organizations that conducted the independent investigations into the JDH closure).
Until Russell is willing to take real corrective action, universities across the United States and Canada have been ending lucrative licensing agreements with the company. We believe retailers should also take steps to push Russell to clean up its act.
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