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.
In December 2003, MSN, the Canadian Labour Congress and the Independent Federation of Honduran Workers (EMIH) filed a formal complaint with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) concerning the unjust firings of workers at a Gildan factory in Honduras. The next month, the same parties filed a complaint with the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC).
When Gildan subsequently announced it was closing the Honduran factory in the midst of the complaints process, grassroots campaigns targeting Gildan Activewear in Canada and the United States succeeded in pressuring Gildan to agree to a corrective action plan.
Campaigning against Gildan proceeded until 2006, when MSN, the WRC and EMIH released a joint final report showing that while Gildan hadn't fully complied with the agreement, it did make serious efforts to do so in later months of the process. MSN has since suspended its Gildan campaign.
In December 2006, the Fair Labor Association (FLA) published its final report on the Gildan El Progreso case, based on a verification audit conducted by the Guatemalan Commission for the Verification of Codes of Conduct (COVERCO). That report states that Gildan "has remediated most of the noncompliance issues" arising from the 2003 complaint in its remaining factories, but still needs to address some outstanding issues and "provide better and more effective trainings, particularly on freedom of association." Download the FLA's Final report on Gildan Activewear here.
(January 24, 2005) Montreal T-shirt manufacturer, Gildan Activewear, agreed to a corrective action plan to repair the damage caused by its decisions to fire approximately 80 union supporters in 2002 and 2003 and to close its El Progeso factory in Honduras during a third party complaint process.
A revealing look at the impacts of free trade on the lives of maquiladora workers who make Gildan T-shirts in Honduras, Mexico and El Salvador. Offers concrete recommendations to the company and stakeholders on ways to improve working conditions and labour practices.