March 28, 2007
[NOTE: MSN is no longer requesting responses to this Urgent Action Alert]
The Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) is calling for support for the workers at Chong Won Fashion, a Wal-Mart supply factory in the Philippines, who have been on strike since September 2006.
Six months after receiving reports from the Philippine Workers' Assistance Center (WAC) of violent attacks by Export Processing Zone police on striking workers, as well the unjust firings of two union leaders and 117 strikers, Wal-Mart has still not taken sufficient action to rectify the situation.
In addition to carrying out its own investigation, Wal-Mart has since received reports from two other investigations verifying that the workers' rights have been violated. The first report, based on an independent investigation by the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), was submitted to Wal-Mart in December 2006. The second report, from the US monitoring organization Verité, was submitted to Wal-Mart in the beginning of March.
While Wal-Mart is telling its supplier to immediately reinstate the 117 unjustly-fired union members, it is not demanding that the company negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with the independent union. Management's refusal to enter into negotiations with the union is the main reason behind the strike.
MSN, the Philippine Workers' Assistance Center (WAC), the International Labor Rights Fund (ILRF), United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), and the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) have sent a joint Open Letter to Wal-Mart urging the company to offer to place a new order with the factory under the condition that factory management negotiates with the union to resolve the dispute and achieve a first collective bargaining agreement.