What You Can Do
Shop with a Conscience
Stand Against Union Busting at Chiquita Bananas
Since 2009, workers at Tres Hermanas have raised concerns over a pattern of labor rights violations, including failure to pay the minimum wage, unpaid overtime, and the illegal firing of workers attempting to exercise their right to organize. In order to protect their rights, workers on Tres Hermanas’ plantations formed the union SITRAINBA, which was officially recognized by the Honduran Ministry of Labor on August 15, 2012. But instead of recognizing and bargaining with SITRAINBA as required by Honduras’ labor law, Tres Hermanas’ management has launched a campaign of anti-union harassment, including firing four women who were prominent union supporters. These egregious violations of the workers’ internationally recognized right to organize are all the more shocking since the plantations are Rainforest Alliance certified. Take a stand against union busting by sending a letter to Tres Hermanas demanding that the management bargain with SITRAINBA and reinstate the fired union members.
Defend Fairtrade: Ask FAIR FOR LIFE to Protect Workers
Consumers rely on certification labels to ensure the products they buy are free of human and labor rights violations. Unfortunately, this isn't always true. Take action and demand that IMO's Fair for Life certification label adopt reforms to protect workers.
This week the International Labor Rights Forum released a report (Hyperlink to Press Release) detailing how the Swiss-based Institute for Marketecology’s (IMO) Fair for Life (Hyperlink to IMO) fair trade label neglected to intervene to uphold its commitment to fair trade standards.
The report, titled Aiding and Abetting (hyperlink to report), exposes how IMO branded Theo Chocolate, a Seattle-based chocolate company, as fair trade despite being informed by Theo workers that the company had hired an anti-union consultant and was violating U.S. and international labor standards during a union organizing campaign.
When Theo workers decided to join the Teamsters, management responded with hostility, intimidation and retaliation including threatening to close the company if workers formed a union, harassing union supporters, driving several workers to leave the company, and firing at least one union supporter. Theo workers were able to convince IMO to conduct an audit post-certification, but IMO upheld Theo’s fair trade certification and told the workers that the results of the audit were confidential. IMO soon after issued new labor standards, which actually recommend employers hire consultants to talk to workers about the pros and cons of organizing – effectively justifying Theo’s actions.
These workers put their trust in fair trade standards but when Theo crushed them, IMO certified it. Join us in calling on IMO and Theo to improve stakeholder involvement and transparency as the next steps in ensuring truly fair supply chains.
End Death Traps for Walmart Workers
Join the call to hold Walmart accountable for the horiffic fire at Tazreen Fashions in Bangladesh.
H&M: End Cotton Crimes
Every year the government of Uzbekistan forcibly mobilizes over a million children, teachers, public servants and private sector employees for the manual planting and harvesting of cotton. The Uzbek government requires farmers to grow cotton and local government offices to forcibly mobilize adults and children to harvest cotton to meet assigned quotas. The Uzbek government enforces these orders with threats and violence; detains and tortures Uzbek activists seeking to monitor the harvest; and continues to refuse to allow international monitors to observe the cotton harvest.
Although H&M has pledged to stop sourcing cotton from Uzbekistan, the fashion giant refuses to put safeguards in place to completely ban companies from its supply chain that profit from Uzbek cotton. Please take action and tell H&M to ban companies from its supply chain that profit from slavery.
Gap: Protect Sweatshop Workers’ Lives
Since 2006 more than 500 garment workers have died in sweatshop factory fires while sewing clothing for giant fashion companies, like Gap, H&M, JCPenney, and Abercrombie. Instead of signing on to a worker safety program as robust as the one Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein have joined, GAP has announced their own, corporate-controlled, fire safety program – one that includes no legal commitments to workers, no oversight by worker organizations, and no transparency.
Join Bangladeshi and international unions and labor groups that are calling on Gap to adopt a meaningful fire safety program that will protect the lives of the workers who sew Gap clothing.
U.S. Flower Company Steals Wages from Colombian Workers
In September 2012, Falcon Farms, a U.S.-based multinational flower company, illegally suspended 71 workers in Colombia for peacefully protesting the company’s failure to pay wages. These are the exact type of employer abuses the government of Colombia promised to address when it recently signed a free trade agreement with the United States. Take a stand against wage theft: Demand that the union members be reinstated with the back pay they are owed!
Adidas: Pay PT Kizone workers legally mandated severance
In January 2011, the owner of PT Kizone factory fled Indonesia, and 2,800 workers and their families found themselves without the nearly half a year’s wages worth of legally-owed severance pay. adidas is the only major buyer from the factory that has refused to accept responsibility and contribute towards what the workers are owed under Indonesian law. Nearly $1.8 million is still owed to the workers, who are struggling to keep children in school and put food on the table.
Walmart: Stop Human Rights Abuses in Your Factories
In April 2012, in a factory in Thailand that processes shrimp for a major supplier to Walmart there was a revolt. 2,000 guest workers from Cambodia and Myanmar angrily protested the seizure of their passports by factory owners in Thailand. Police were called. Shots were fired. But it wasn’t just the passport seizure that incited the workers’ anger — it was management slashing wages again. Their wages already didn’t cover the most basic needs, and this action put workers deeper into the factory’s debt — it’s called debt bondage. At this moment, many of them are still legally and financially trapped at the factory, victims of human trafficking. Sign the petition to Walmart’s VP of Ethical Sourcing Rajan Kamalanathan to demand these factory owners end human trafficking immediately and allow independent monitors to audit all of their factories.
Donate to Support Bangladeshi Labor Groups in Seeking Justice
Support the organizing of Bangladeshi labor rights advocates in seeking justice following the murder of worker advocate Aminul Islam. Funds are needed to support memorial demonstrations, worker meetings, and printing of posters and leaflets.
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