Garment workers across Haiti have been striking and demonstrating to demand:
- A minimum wage adjustment from 350 Gourdes ($5.50 US) to 800 Gourdes ($12.60)per day, on top of meal, transportation and housing subsidies
- Social Services
- They demand that production quotas do not increase with the increased minimum wage
They are under attack, but are not backing down. Stand with them!
Solidarity with “Operasyon Bra Kwaze”, or in English, “Operation Arms Crossed.”
The strike began Friday 5/19/17 in the capital, Port Au Prince, and spread quickly. Strikes and demonstrations are taking place in the north and south of Haiti in four main cities – Port Au Prince, Carrefour, Ounaminthe and Caracol.
These workers receive the lowest wage in the western hemisphere. Garment workers live in debt, hunger and on the brink of homelessness, despite working 12-16 hour days.
Meanwhile factory owners/manufacturers like the Apaid family, Alain Villard, Charles Baker, H&H Textiles, Sae-A and Grupo M, along with brands like Hanes, Gildan, Fruit of the Loom, Gap, and Walmart rake in billions of dollars in profit.
Production quotas are set impossibly high. Factory owners and management do not respect the law, and often do not pay the existing minimum wage. Union members and organizers are constantly harassed and arbitrarily fired for exercising their legal rights.
Garment workers have said, “Enough!” When you are drowning in debt; when there is not enough money for rent or food; when the company you work for is stealing your wages; there is only one option – STAND UP & FIGHT BACK.
Now the factory owners and the government are attacking workers for fighting for their basic rights.
HERE ARE THE MOST RECENT UPDATES from organizers with SOTA, SOKOWA & SOVAGH:
PORT AU PRINCE – SOTA-BO UNION – SONAPI Industrial Park + factories outside the industrial park
- Tues 5/23/17 – Workers left the streets and returned to work, but many participated in work stoppages in their factories. Haiti National Police riot division, CIMO, attacked workers in the SONAPI Industrial Park, with workers fleeing. Many workers had their phones stolen or destroyed by the police, because they were trying to document the attack. Factory owners do not want us to see their attacks on workers.
- Thurs 5/25/17 – RRN receives reports that Premium Apparel factory, owned by the powerful Apaid family, has become a sort of central command for repression. There is a police occupation of the factory. Workers say the factory now resembles a military compound. Below are photos of the nearly empty factory floor at Premium Apparel.
Premium Apparel Factory, nearly empty.
- Thurs 5/25/17 – The woman in this photo that we posted Tues 5/23/17, who was brutally beaten unconscious is alive. She is in the hospital waiting on x-ray results.
- Thurs 5/25/17 – Workers commit to “Operasyon Bra Kwaze,” or “Operation Arms Crossed,” meaning they will not back down. The RRN stands with them.
- Thurs 5/25/17 – In the video below, workers demand that the police give back the phones they stole from them.
- Thurs 5/25/17 – SOTA-BO shares schedule of mobilization for the coming days:
- May 26 – March
- May 27 – STRIKE
- May 28 – rest
- May 29 – March
- May 30 – March
- Fri 5/26/17 – RRN received word from Haiti that The National Police declared all marches blocking the road to the airport a matter of National Security. The Batay Ouvriye Workers Center, SONAPI Industrial Park, and Sewing Inernational, SA (SISA) factory all are located on this road – Boulevard Toussaint Louverture.
- Fri 5/26/17 – RRN receives a translation of an official Notice sent out on 5/22/17 from the Ministry of Justice and Public Security commending the Haitian National Police for their efforts and encouraging them to block mobilizations by any means necessary.
CARREFOUR – SOTA-BO UNION – Palm Apparel, H&H Textiles and other factories
- Tues 5/23/17 – RRN receives reports that workers at Palm Apparel, owned by Alain Villard were under attack by CIMO division of the Haiti National police also.
- Fri 5/26/17 – RRN receives report of a possible confrontation between workers and police. We are awaiting confirmation, and if there any victims.
OUNAMINTHE – SOKOWA UNION – Codevi Free Trade Zone
- Thurs 5/25/17 – workers at Codevi Free Trade Zone, owned and operated by Grupo M & Fernando Capellan, did a work stoppage. They went into the factory, but sat at their stations and did not sew.
- Thurs 5/25/17 – RRN receives the below video from a street demonstration where workers are singing, “Go tell Jovenel we need the 800 Gourdes!” Jovenel Moise is the current president of Haiti.
CARACOL – SOVAGH UNION – Caracol Industrial Park
- Thurs 5/25/17 – workers at Sae-A factory, in the Caracol Industrial Park, also did a work stoppage. They went into the factory, but sat at their stations and did not sew.
- Thurs 5/25/17 – workers at Caracol Industrial Park are shot with rubber bullets by the police.
Thank you for the pressure you have put on factory owners, government and regulatory agencies!
PLEASE DON’T STOP. LET’S INCREASE THE PRESSURE.
Factory owners and the government are likely to double down their repression against workers. Let’s let them know the world is watching!
Contact info for Port Au Prince & Carrefour:
Contact info for Caracol Industrial Park:
Below is info for CODEVI Free Trade Zone in Ounaminthe:
Grupo M – company that operates CODEVI.
Website – http://www.grupom.com.do
Twitter – @GrupoMCodevi – https://twitter.com/grupomcodevi?lang=en
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/grupom_codevi/
Linked In – https://www.linkedin.com/company/grupo-m
Fernando Capellan – President of Grupo M
Christian Capellan – works for Grupo M
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter – @ccapellan1 – https://twitter.com/ccapellan1?lang=en
Last, please make a financial contribution to help these workers continue their fight.
The act of striking is incredibly brave. It requires a serious sacrifice, and a level of cooperation and care for their collective interest. Striking means no wages. It means hungry families, no money for transit, for school, or for the market. It means the rent will not be paid and the possibility of homelessness. And yet, the textile workers continue on… because they recognize that the only path to justice is through their collective fight. It’s their only alternative to starvation wages and further exploitation.
Workers are determined to continue with the ongoing strikes. They are fierce and brave, but they are also hungry, and funds to continue the strike are low.
Let’s stand with them!
We must not passively accept the presence of products on store shelves without understanding—and actively opposing—the harsh conditions of exploitation and repression under which they are produced.
Skip a few cups of coffee out and donate that money to Haitian garment workers.
Make a contribution of any amount.
CLICK HERE TO DONATE.
ABA SALE MIZ! DOWN WITH MISERY WAGES!
ABA EKSPLWATASYON! DOWN WITH EXPLOITATION!