December 3, 2009
In a special meeting convened December 1, 2009, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) Board of Directors formally lifted the "Special Review" of Russell Athletic's membership in the FLA. According to FLA Executive Director Jorge Perez-Lopez, the agreement reached on November 14 between Russell Corporation and the workers' union (SITRAJERZEESH) and the confederation to which it is affiliated (CGT) "addresses the key issues that were pending on the FLA remediation plan issued to Russell Corporation on June 29, 2009" and therefore that "Russell has met the requirements issued as part of the 90-day special review period."
The Maquila Solidarity Network argued in favour of putting Russell Athletic on Special Review status in June of this year. Once an agreement was reached with the Honduran union that met the FLA's conditions, MSN's representative on the FLA Board of Directors, Lynda Yanz, supported the lifting of Special Review status.
Also on December 1, Scott Nova, Executive Director of the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), wrote to member universities and colleges with an update on the agreements that were achieved on November 14. According to Nova, "faithful and effective implementation of the agreements is crucial and I am pleased to report that early indications are very positive in this regard."
He noted that "several meetings have been held between CGT and SITRAJERZEESH representatives and Russell's top managers in Honduras. These have been mutually respectful and highly productive - and they have included concrete planning for the prompt commencement of the hiring process at the soon-to-be-opened Jerzees Nuevo Dia factory. Plans are also being shaped for the expeditious distribution of financial assistance to the workers, which is being coordinated by the WRC and the CGT. The first round of payments will be carried out either before or shortly after the upcoming holidays."
MSN is encouraging universities that had initially suspended licensing arrangements with the company to reward the groundbreaking November agreement by renewing contracts with Russell Athletic.