March 29, 2007
Chris Fox, Vice President of Social Compliance
1000 East Hanes Mill Road
Winston Salem, NC 27105 -- United States
Dear Mr. Fox:
I am writing to follow-up on our correspondence last November concerning the closing of your facility in Monclova, Mexico, Monclova Internacional, and to reiterate the concerns of the Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) and our partners in Mexico and internationally regarding the situation of the dismissed workers, as well as how your company’s policy on closures could impact your current workers in the state of Coahuila and throughout the world.
We have learned from our partners at SEDEPAC in Monclova that, after our November letter to you, the local management in fact stopped requiring workers to sign documents stating that they were in good health, which the company had previously made a condition for receipt of payment of their legal termination benefits. We assume that these improvements in local management’s practices, as well as the resolution to complaints filed with the Local Conciliation and Arbitration Board, were in response to concerns raised in our letters, and we thank you for addressing these problems.
However, a number of the questions raised in our November letters remain unanswered. In particular, our note (Monclova International: Responsible Closure - The Bottom Line) provided a range of practical suggestions that we believe would have provided Hanesbrands the opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to social responsibility both to its workers and to their community.
In your November 28 response to us, you recognized such responsibility and described your intention “to do everything (…) to help replace the jobs that are lost.” Our understanding is that approximately 1,700 workers have been left jobless with the closing of your Monclova International facility. Three months later, following on the spirit of your letter, we would ask that you provide us an update on what assistance your company has provided to its former workers. We would welcome any information you have on their present situation. You’ll remember that our Monclova International – Responsible Closure document suggested Hanesbrands support a study to track workers over a one-year period following the closure.
Your silence on many of the concerns we conveyed to you as they were arising in Monclova and your company’s refusal to engage in a serious dialogue on the practical solutions described in detail in our November correspondence is certainly a cause for concern. Indeed, the apparent insufficient preparation of the local management of your factories on these matters has raised new questions on the fate of the tens of thousands workers currently employed by Hanesbrands and your suppliers and their communities not only in Mexico but also in other countries where production restructuring or retrenchment may be upcoming.
In the new international context that follows the end of the multi-fiber arrangement in 2005, this issue of the responsibility of global corporations such as Hanesbrands is now high on the agenda of all of us concerned with the rights of workers and the economic development of their communities. At this time of considerable change in your industry globally, we cannot insist enough on the immense responsibility of Hanesbrands, as one of the leading apparel manufacturer in the world in addressing the many issues surrounding factory closing in a responsible manner.
Hanesbrands certainly is not the only company having to face increased scrutiny on these matters. For your reference, I am attaching a “Good Practice Note” compiled by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, entitled ‘Managing Retrenchment’. This note includes a number of relevant observations on (early) planning, transparency, and consultation with stakeholders. It also underlines the importance of corporate responsibility “beyond severance payments and compliance with basic legal requirements” in areas such as training, career and financial counseling, promotion of local economic development opportunities, outsourcing, assistance with finding new employment. Overall, it addresses the role that responsible companies should play in promoting local economic development and mitigating the impact of downsizing on communities.
We would appreciate an opportunity to enter into dialogue with Hanesbrands both regarding developments in Coahuila and your plans for restructuring generally. You can be assured that we will be continuing to monitor Hanesbrands activities, particularly in the Americas, but internationally as well. We continue to be very concerned about plans for Mexico, and would suggest that we organize a meeting to discuss these matters, to include Hanesbrands, MSN and SEDEPAC, our partner group in Coahuila.
You can reach me through our Toronto office at 416-532-8584, or on my Mexico cell at: +52-1-55-35-20-84-93.
Lynda Yanz, Coordinator
Maquila Solidarity Network
Kathy Frith, Director of Social Compliance, Americas, Hanesbrands, Inc.
Andrew Samet, Hanesbrands, Legal Counsel
Betty Robles, SEDEPAC
Scott Nova, Workers Rights Consortium (WRC)
David Shilling, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
Ben Davis, AFL-CIO Solidarity Center, México