Port Au Prince, Haiti – Four garment workers and union organizers affiliated with Batay Ouvriye (Workers Fight) were unjustly fired from H&H Textiles factory in the Palmiers Free Zone, in the Carrefour subdivision of Port-au-Prince.
H&H management is trying to intimidate and eliminate workers fighting for their rights to a decent wage and their right to organize.
Now these workers are calling for support!
Give solidarity to the workers who produce the clothing we wear.
Here’s what you need to know and how to take action.
Lucitha Julessaint , Jean Louis Marie Ederse, Olga Miallard , & Ruth Joseph – H&H Textile workers and Batay Ouvriye organizers who were unjustly fired.
H&H Textile – the Haiti subsidiary of Seoul, Korea based Yujin Apparel. Their factory in Haiti makes mostly t-shirts, shorts, and sportswear. Some brands include Children’s Place, Avia, and Athletic Works. You’ll find these brands in stores like Walmart and Marshall’s.
Batay Ouvriye (Workers Fight) – a Haitian movement of autonomous textile unions and organizations of peasants, small vendors, and neighborhoods.
SOTA – textile trade union in Port Au Prince, affiliated with Batay Ourviye.
May 1st Federation – a federation of all textile unions throughout Haiti.
What: Report from Batay Ouvriye on what took place
Lucitha Julessaint , an organizer with Batay Ouvriye, was fired from H&H. Two other workers – Jean Louise Marie Ederse & Olga Miallard – intervened and protested the firing on her behalf. They were called into a meeting, with human resources director, Etienne Bernadin at about 4:20 pm. The meeting ended at 5:15 pm. At that time, our comrades punched out and went home. The next day when Louise Marie & Hillard reported for work, H&H management fired them, because they punched out after meeting with management, accusing them of time theft and fraud.
The May First Union Federation-Batay Ouvriye and the SOTA secretariat met with management to discuss and to charge that the three firings were illegal based on the law and the Labor Code. There was no agreement on the firings.
While we were making attempts to meet with the labor mediator, management fired yet another comrade, Ruth Joseph, under the pretext that she did not complete the end-of-day report on daily production quotas in a timely manner. In fact, she was transcribing her notes on official worksheets.
We made an appeal with the labor mediator. There was mediation. Once each side presented their case, the mediator concluded clearly there was no valid justification to fire the comrades and proposed to reinstate them in their posts; the firings were not based on the law.
On the mediator’s proposal, the H&H representative gave his guarantee that he was going to report to his boss with a view to reconsider the firings and they will give a response in three days. Since then, it’s been a month and we haven’t heard anything from them.
In this sense, we are calling for national and international solidarity to launch a campaign to compel the H&H Textile management to reinstate all the comrades they fired illegally.
The fight for a higher wage in Haiti has been ongoing. This fight, as well as the basic right to organize, is constantly met with harassment, illegal firings, and often violent repression. Manufacturers and the brands they produce for vehemently oppose workers’ rights because they interfere with their ability to extract as much profit out of the production process as possible. This means exploitation is required, and it takes many forms. Setting impossible production quotas to prevent workers from receiving the minimum wage, wage theft, and unpaid overtime are a few of these methods.
Here’s how these workers are asking you to take action!
Email H&H to amplify the workers’ demands.
You can copy and paste the message below, and feel free to add your own note!
Email contact: Jay@yjapp.com
To Whom it May Concern at Yujin Apparel:
I am emailing in support of workers at your H&H factory in Haiti – Julessaint Lucitha, Jean Louis Marie Edese, Hillard Olga, & Joseph Ruth. Right now Haitian garment workers cannot survive on the starvation wage they are paid. These workers were unjustly fired for exercising their right to organize.
I insist on the following:
- Rehire Julessaint Lucitha, Jean Louis Marie Edese, Hillard Olga, & Joseph Ruth.
- Respect workers’ right to organize.
- Pay workers 500 gourdes ($7.83). Stop profiting from exploitation!
In solidarity with Haitian garment workers,
City, State, or Country