After more than two weeks of striking, workers and union members of SOTA at H&H Textiles factory returned to work this morning.
Tuesday 4/18/17, SOTA union members met with management to negotiate the workers’ demands.
The workers went on strike because of incessant harassment, intimidation and arbitrary firings for union members. As part of this effort, management writes up workers with “derogatory letters” to justify unjust firings. For example, if a worker took a bathroom break, a manager could say, “You took too long,” and issue them a letter. Once a worker accumulates enough bogus letters, the letters are used to warrant firings.
Production manager, Mrs. Khan, has been especially brutal in her harassment of union members, often headbutting workers. Many of the songs and chants during the strike included her, “We do not want Khan. She must go,” and “Down with Madam Khan.”
Also, the production quotas at all the factories are set incredibly high. They are often unattainable and prevent workers from receiving the minimum wage… because they are often paid by how much they produce, rather than how many hours they work.
Here is a direct message from SOTA after the negotiations:
(Translated from Kreyol)
“Ok, we reached a consensus to return to work tomorrow, Wednesday, April 19th. On Thursday we will meet with management to confirm their agreement with the minister of labor regarding:
- The reinstatement of the fired workers
- No firing after the strike
- Stop derogatory letters and dismissals
- Payment of the legal strike days
- Set reasonable quotas
- As for Mrs. Khan, she does not have the right to dismiss or fire workers anymore.”
Initially H&H management refused to concede anything to the workers. So this is a big step for the workers!
Now, we will see if H&H management follows through on the agreement.
The reality is that words on paper often don’t come to life. For instance, unions and union rights are completely legal and recognized in state documents… but, this very strike and the reasons for it show us the reality.
Garment workers continue to fight for for their most basic, legal rights.
So, as May Day approaches, and there are ongoing struggles at several other factories in Haiti, the RRN will continue to collect funds to support future strikes and mobilizations for these workers.
See the bottom of this page for more info on garment workers’ May Day call to action & for an increased minimum wage; the ongoing wage tax fight; and a new union’s fight for existence at Quality Sewing.
Here are ways you can give to the Strike Fund:
* We’re working on a way to receive online donations, but don’t have 501(c)3 status.
1. Transfer money to the RRN through Venmo. We’ll wire those funds to Haiti.
2. Send a wire transfer donation directly to Batay Ouvriye towards the strike fund.
ENTESENDIKAL PREMYE ME BATAY OUVRIYE
SOGEBANK S.A. Route de Delmas, Port-au-Prince, Haiti (509) 2815 5595
Swift Code for Sogebank:
Corresponding banks in the US:
BANK OF AMERICA/MERRILL LYNCH, New York, N.Y. USA
Swift Code: BOFAUS3N
Bank of New York Mellon, New York, USA
Swift Code: IRVTUS3N
3. Mail Checks to:
35 NW 195 ST
Miami, FL 33169
* Please write check out to Frantz Wainwright & note Haiti Strike Fund.
4. Email the RRN if you’re in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area, and you’d like to send cash/check to be wired to Haiti – RRNsolidarity@gmail.com.
5. Follow, Like & Subscribe to the RRN for ongoing updates and campaigns to support independent and autonomous workers’ struggles.
Newsletter/updates sign up: http://goo.gl/Me35SH
Thank you for your solidarity!
In case you missed it, here’s the May Day call to action from PLASIT-BO, the coalition of textile trade unions.
Links to the backstory on this recent H&H Textiles Strike:
Link to the ongoing fight for a new SOTA union chapter at Quality Sewing