Yannick Etiene is an organizer for the May First Union Federation and a member of the Haitian social movement Batay Ouvriye. MSN had the opportunity to speak with Yannick in Washington DC in October 2012.
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. 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 apparel industry was widely hailed in some circles as a vital economic opportunity for Haiti, particularly after the devastating earthquake which hit the country in January 2010. Although the creation of approximately 26,000 jobs in the country is certainly welcome, the full benefits of those jobs will only be felt if the workers have access to their legal rights, including the right to form unions and bargain collectively, and are paid a living wage.
The Magnitude Seven earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12 left the island nation in tatters with tens of thousands feared dead and hundreds of thousands left homeless. The quake completely destroyed the already fragile infrastructure in and around the country’s most populous city of Port-au-Prince leaving most without access to essential services such as water, hospitals and sanitation...
(March 2007) Although price remains the main factor in sourcing decisions, brands are also concerned with guaranteeing that their products reach stores at the right time. According to brand representatives, instability in different countries also motivates brands to keep work in different countries located in different regions. For brands selling in the US market, it is quite likely that their strategies first divide suppliers into two big categories: Asia/Americas.
Canadian t-shirt manufacturer Gildan Activewear is closing two factories in Mexico, two Montreal textile plants and a cutting operation in New York. An estimated 1,365 Mexican and 465 Canadian and U.S. workers will be laid off. Workers at the Mexican factories were particularly hard hit, as the region is already reeling from Hanesbrands' laying-off of 1,700 workers in December 2006. With MSN’s assistance, our local Mexican partner organization in Monclova, SEDEPAC, put forward a series of proposals to Gildan.