January 23, 2012
Workers at the One World Factory, Haiti. Photo: Inter Press Service
Shortly after a new union was formed last September in Haiti's growing apparel manufacturing sector, six of the seven workers who serve on the union's executive committee were fired or forced to resign by the factories where they worked (see "Haiti's showdown on union rights"). But we're pleased to report that thanks to concerted efforts by Haitian and international labour rights groups, all but one of the workers have now been reinstated and are back at work.
The firings took place at factories producing for Canadian-owned Gildan Activewear and for the American underwear maker Hanesbrands. Appeals by international supporters and intervention by both brands were critical to ensuring that the local manufacturers reinstated the workers.
There are still some outstanding issues. The sixth worker, Mitial Rubin (Secretary of SOTA), has not been reinstated by his employer, a factory called One World Apparel, owned by Charles Henri Baker, a former candidate for President of Haiti. Efforts continue to persuade Mr. Baker to change course. Also, while SOTA and Genesis were able to negotiate a solid reinstatement agreement, the issue of back pay is not fully resolved.
MSN and international allies are continuing to monitor the situation and urge the reinstatement of all SOTA leaders with full back pay.
Worker Rights Consortium