The Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), the Honduran Independent Monitoring Team (EMIH), and the Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) has released the second and final update on the verification of Canadian T-shirt manufacturer Gildan Activewear's compliance with a January 2005 agreement to give priority hiring opportunities to approximately 1,800 former employees of the company's Gildan El Progreso factory in Honduras. The update on Gildan's compliance with the January 2005 priority hiring agreement includes a series of recommendations to Gildan based on the El Progreso experience.
When Canadian T-shirt manufacturer Gildan Activewear purchased Anvil Knitwear in May 2012, workers at Anvil’s unionized Star factory in El Progreso, Honduras were understandably worried about their job security. After all, Gildan was the same company that had closed a wholly-owned factory in El Progreso eight years earlier in order to avoid having to accept and negotiate with a union.
During the hectic week of the Jerzees Nuevo Día Honduras factory inauguration, Evangelina Argueta, the coordinator for maquila organizing in the Choloma region for the Honduran General Workers' Confederation (CGT), took time out for an interview with MSN in San Pedro Sula. Evangelina has been at the forefront of many organizing efforts over the year, including the recent historic victory won by the Jerzees de Honduras workers.
The Central General de Trabajadores de Honduras (CGT) and Nike announced a ground-breaking agreement today that will provide a US$1.5 million fund for workers in Honduras that formerly produced Nike apparel. According to a press release from Nike and the CGT, workers will also receive a year's access to the health care system, training and priority hiring. The agreement comes after intense pressure was put on Nike by a student-led campaign that had convinced some US universities to end lucrative licensing agreements with Nike.
June 28th marked the anniversary of the coup d'état in Honduras. One year later, the political crisis in the country remains unresolved. Despite an election in November, 2009, violence and repression have continued under new President Porfirio Lobo, and civil society continues to refuse to recognize his government while pressing ahead with plans to hold a Constituent Assembly to begin the process of changing the Honduran Constitution.
Both the Canadian and US governments have praised last November's elections in Honduras as a major step forward toward a return to democracy and national reconciliation. Yet the reality on the ground under the newly elected government of Porfirio Lobo is one of continuing repression and selective assassinations of those who dared to oppose the June 28, 2009 military coup.
The face of Honduras' president may have changed, but the impunity and repressive policies of the old coup government continue. Porfirio Lobo took office on January 27 after winning a deeply flawed election. Since then he has shown little interest in reconciling with ousted president Manuel Zelaya or the National Resistance that had mobilized opposition to the coup government.
Mounting evidence suggests that fraud was committed in the November 29 Honduran national elections, but the fraud wasn't against the minority who voted; it was against the majority who abstained. Though we may never know the truth about how many Hondurans stayed home on November 29 to protest the coup, what we do know is that fewer than 50% of the population voted.
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 after the company's agreement reached on November 14 with the workers' union (SITRAJERZEESH) and the confederation to which it is affiliated (CGT) was found to address the key issues that were pending from the FLA remediation plan previously issued to Russell.
An unprecedented agreement has been struck between Russell Athletic and the union representing 1,200 unjustly laid off workers at its former Jerzees de Honduras (JDH) factory. The company has agreed to open a new facility in the area, re-hire and provide substantial economic assistance to the former JDH workers, institute a joint union-management training program on freedom of association and commit to a position of neutrality with respect to unionization, which will open the door for union representation at all Fruit of the Loom facilities in Hondura.