* Updated Thursday, 06.29.17
Haitian garment workers have been striking and demonstrating for a minimum wage adjustment from 300 Gourdes (just under US $5) to 800 Gourdes/day (about US $12) since May.
Despite the fact that workers are exercising their legal right to organize, factory owners are union busting in an effort to isolate and punish union organizers.
They are targeting SOTA-BO union leaders with selective suspensions and by locking them out of the factories.
Workers are assigned to production modules, or groups. In the sign below, posted at Premium Apparel factory, Premium lists the module numbers that should return to work on May 31. It then says that Premium will let all other workers know when to return to work. It is not a coincidence that the modules with union organizers have been excluded from returning to work and entering the factory.
There is a heavy military presence at the factories.
On 06/28/17, Yannick Etienne, an organizer with Batay Ouvriye (BO) emailed the RRN to fill us in on this situation.
Thank you for the great show of solidarity with the struggle thus far. The garment workers are asking RRN to launch a campaign to denounce the anti union activities at the Apaid plant, Premium Apparel and at the [Felix] Abraham plant, Quality Sewing. We are asking that letters be sent to demand the reinstatement of workers without conditions. Let’s flood their e-mail boxes to denounce their anti union practices.
At the bottom of the page, you can read the full letter and account of the union-busting happening at Premium Apparel and Quality Sewing factories.
Quality Sewing is owned and operated by Abraham Felix.
Premium Apparel, SA is owned and operated by the powerful Apaid family.
*Update as of 06/29/17 – Garment workers let us know that the same union-busting is also happening at H&H Textiles. So, we’ve added contact info for Jay Jihoon Kim, General Director of H&H Textiles.
Let’s do our part to pressure the factory owners and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in Haiti!
Below is an email you can copy and paste.
Send it as many times as you can, from all your different email accounts.
LET’S FLOOD THEM WITH OUR SOLIDARITY.
To: AFELIXMH2@gmail.com; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Jay@yjapp.com email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: STOP UNION BUSTING. 800 GOURDES.
I am emailing in support of union members who are being prevented from entering and working at Premium Apparel, Quality Sewing and H&H Textiles.
Apaid, Felix and H&H make millions of dollars in profit by exploiting these workers.
Workers are within their rights to organize and demand decent pay to house, feed, clothe and educate themselves.
They cannot be punished for exercising their rights as a union.
I insist on the following:
- Reinstate workers without any conditions.
- Pay workers 800 Gourdes minimum wage & provide social services.
- Respect workers’ right to organize.
- Stop the repression against workers!
In solidarity with Haitian garment workers,
City, State, or Country
Please consider making a donation to help workers continue their efforts.
Your contribution will be used to provide meals to workers at meetings; to print leaflets; to help transport organizers; and to recoup the costs of mobilizing in four locations for a month.
After weeks of strikes and mobilizations, the workers are now regrouping. Many have been arrested. Some must return to work in order to eat. Some have been denied entry into the factories for their participation in the strikes.
While many workers are hungry, tired, and struggling to survive, their resolve does not wane.
They are determined to continue this fight. They must. Their survival depends on it.
Thank you for your solidarity! <3
Account & Documentation of Union-Busting:
The movement started on May Day to demand 800 gourdes as the new minimum wage in the textile sector. Then on May 19th, we had a march and the mobilization continues for the rest of the week. Instigated by ADIH, the factory owners Association, owners did a lock for 2 days. However when workers from Premium Apparel went back to work on June 23rd, they saw a note on the gate- telling which modules management will accept to get to work.
As you can see, it was a way to select who can get back to work or not. Management selects people they from Maton (Bldg #2) to let them work in the Bdlg#1 called Premium. It was very difficult to get in. They had heavily armed police at the entrance door and in front of the factory when workers went back to work. (see some pictures…)
Photos of Lock out, Selective Suspension…
First email sent to Mr. Apaid and Mme Morissette
[ORIGINAL – KREYOL]
Bonjour M. Apaid,
Bonjour Madam Morisset,
Nou gen dives manb sendika SOTA-BO nan Premium ki ap tann yo rele yo pou yo vin Travay. N ap mande nou ki le sa ap fet sitou gen rime ki vle fe kwe se kontra Travay yo antrepriz la rezilye. Eske nou kapab klarifye kesyon sa a pou nou sivouple. Fe nou konnen ki le y ap retounen nan pos Travay yo.
Mesi pou repons rapid nou ak konpreyansyon nou.
Salitasyon sendikal nou.
[ENGLISH, GOOGLE TRANSLATE VERSION]
Bonjour M. Apaid,
Hello Mrs. Morisset,
We have various member unions Sota-BO Premium waiting to call them to come to work. We wonder when this will occur mainly rumored that suggests is labor contracts terminating enterprise. Can we clarify this question for us PLEASE. Let us know when they will return to their work positions.
Thank you for quick response and understanding.
After several exchanges over the phone and emails with Mr. Apaid or Mme Morissette regarding this selection that they were doing, we received responses like the workers were not fired but the company has to get a letter from us notifying that the strike is over so they can get back to work.
We told them that we were in total disagreement with their position. They sent a letter to Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MAST) making it official. We went to the Bureau of Mediation of the Textile Sector (BMST) and requested a meeting with Mr. Apaid.
We met twice on the subject. To test their good faith, we sent a letter to the Minister of Labor saying that we call for a truce over the mobilization, so that our members could go back to work. They refused to let our committee members to get back to Premium (Bldg #1). That’s where they used to work. And they are still waiting to get back to work.
Management wants them to go to work at the other building. But they were already informed about the closure of this plant because of the reduction from Gildan. So, it’s clear that Apaid want to get rid of the committee members. Although he is saying that he did not terminate them.