Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Maquiladora Workers to Vist HSU


Hello Everyone,

Great NEWS!!! We have Rod from USAS coming to HSU with Mirna and Norma from Russell Athletic who used to work for them but got fired for trying to unionize. They will be coming to our campus to talk about how this has affected their lives and to get Universities to cut contracts with Russell Athletic. This event will be Thursday April 23rd at 6:00 pm in the BSS Native Forum. Please come and support this event, it is sure to be enlightening.

39 comments:

David said...

Props to HUSAS for bringing Norma Estela Mejia Castellano who worked at Jerzees de Honduras and its sister factories for about four years.
Thanks to everyone who shoed up to the event in support, to Denice Helwig and Paul Mann for meeting with Norma, to Rita's Restaurant-Wildberries Market Place-and attendeed who donated to the workers tour.

For those who missed the eventhere is a summery:

Norma supports her two children, mother, and aunt. None of them are able to work, so she takes care of all of them. Now that Jerzees has blacklisted her for standing up for workers rights Norma doesn’t know what she will do.
Since the factory closed, as an act of vengeance for trying to organize, 1800 workers have been laid off and blacklisted.
Russell is an American Corporation, supported by American consumers, breaking international labor laws and the US government doesn’t do anything about it.
Norma is touring the US because workers around the world who make our university clothing need the support of the students and universities. Students can help with a consumer campaign, and refuse to support brands like Russell until they allow an investigation of their violations of workers’ rights. Norma believes that the United States is a country that is interested in defending human rights. This is why they are seeking international support to support them in their struggle for decent work.
Our government and corporations have demonstrated that they are not concerned with labor abuse as long as it helps the US economy. However, students who understand this and have empathy can let corporate America know that we will not support factories that abuse workers. This will affect the economy then the government and corporations will care. To form a union is not a crime, Honduran workers need jobs, but they need decent jobs.
Norma has been a supporter of the union since the beginning. She is vice president and on the negotiating committee. The workers decided to organize because the conditions had gotten so bad at the factory after Fruit of the Loom bought it. For example, they wanted to save money on rent, so they squeezed even more machines into the building to the point where workers could barely walk. They took away employee benefits and they changed things so that workers could not reach the production goals. Everyone was working harder and faster but making less money.
When Norma visited our campus as part of her tour she explained that:
The company never accepted organization.
The union leaders have been the target of threats. She explained to the students who attended the event that a man that lives close to her and works at the factory threatened that if the factory closes he would cut off the heads of the union organizers. When she told management about this threat and others, they said that if she and the others wanted to leave the factory they could – as if they weren’t aware of this and of course that is what they want.
Norma and other leaders who led this process have been put on a blacklist so that they will not be able to find jobs. This has also happened to the workers from Jerzees Choloma, who are still unable to find work. During her presentation Norma cried, thinking about what is happening. Work is the only thing Norma has to sustain her family. Without work, they cannot survive.

insidesunvalley said...

Right on guys! You guys rock. The people that practice this stuff and expect to get away with it and think they're above the law need to be punished as criminals. When I came across your blog earlier today, I was hoping to ask you guys a favor. I'm told that tomorrow (1/4/09) Sun Valley Floral Farms will do a massive lay off of over 600 of its work force, most likely the legals. I'm told that it will likely be the legals that will be fired and the contract laborers (Mexicans) will be kept. I was hoping some of your people would go out and protest with me. What do you say? If you go to the User Info section of my blog that is linked to this comment, you can see an option where you can send a text message to my phone. I hope to hear from you soon!

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