(en)Labor alert: Honduras

Lyn Gerry (linjin@tao.ca)
Sun, 4 May 1997 23:22:28 pst

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------- Forwarded Message Follows ------- Date: Thu, 1 May 1997 10:29:23 -0700 (PDT) To: clr From: Mike Rhodes <clr2@igc.apc.org> Subject: Labor alert: Honduras

Labor Alerts/Labor News a service of Campaign for Labor Rights

Honduran Maquila Union Under Attack

Summary: Management at the Kimi maquiladora plant located in Lima, Honduras, has reportedly violated the basic rights of its workers, who are trying to form a union. Kimi is a Korean-owned plant currently producing clothing for JC Penney, Macy's, and Bloomingdales. The workers and union leaders are primarily young women.

The new union has accused management of:

o firing members of the union's organizing committee,

o locking workers out of the factory for two hours unless they joined a company union,

o not permitting workers to enter the factory unless they sign blank pieces of paper, which could be used for false resignation letters, false affiliation signatures for the company union, etc.

These reported actions are contrary to Honduran labor law and to International Labor Organizations conventions. Honduran law does not permit the firing of workers without cause or firing for union activity. Last year, the company fired 60 union sympathizers who were later reinstated after a strike by the union.

Background: On April 21, 1997 the workers formally notified Kimi's administrative manager of their intention to form a union by handing him a list of over 260 union affiliation names (out of 400 workers at the factory.) After some pressure by the union, the Honduran Labor Ministry officially notified the company that the union has applied for legalization. Now that the Labor Ministry has given the official notification, the company cannot fire any (more) workers until the union is legalized and a collective bargaining agreement is negotiated. The workers are demanding to be treated with respect: an end to yelling at workers, clean bathrooms, an end to mandatory work in the evenings so that workers can attend school and continue their education.

U.S. Labels/Buyers of clothing made at Kimi: Apparatus sold by JC Penney; Jennifer Moore and Innovation Sports sold by Federated Department Stores, which own Macy's, Bloomingdales and Mervyns.

Action Requested:

Fax the Kimi Administrative Manager in Honduras. It would be helpful to send a cc of your fax to any or all of the following: the Kimi parent company in Seoul, fax: 011 82 2 232-6482; Kenneth Russo, Vice President for International Sourcing, J.C. Penney Company, Inc., fax: 972-431-9464; Allen Questrom, Chief Executive Officer, Federated Department Stores, fax: 513-579-7462.

Chan Suk Lee Administrative Manager Continental Park Lima, Honduras Fax: 011 504 68-1504

Dear Mr. Chan Suk Lee:

I have heard disturbing reports that your company has been trying to prevent unionization through illegal means: that it has fired workers for union activity, started a "company" union, and has threatened to move to El Salvador if the union continues to try to represent the workers. All of these actions, if true, are violations of workers' rights and International Labor Organization conventions. From what I understand, the Kimi workers' demands are very reasonable: time to attend classes in the evening, clean bathrooms, and respectful treatment by their supervisors.

I hope that you will reinstate the workers and negotiate with their union in good faith. I will ask the U.S. companies who contract with Kimi (JC Penney and Federated Department Stores) not to do business with Kimi should it close and move in order to avoid negotiations with its workers.

Thank you for listening. I hope that you will respond and let me know that you will reinstate the workers fired for union activity, respect the workers' freedom of association, and begin contract negotiations with the union.


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