Thanks for your patience as we catch up on bringing you news and updates of Haitian garment workers’ struggles after Hurricane Irma. Most people in south Florida now have power restored, but Internet is another story.
September 2, 2017 – the RRN received news that workers at MGA Haiti, SA – a garment factory in Port Au Prince – formed a new chapter of SOTA-BO union!
SOTA-BO played a leading role in organizing the country-wide, three month long struggle for 800 Gourdes minimum wage. Union and non-union workers in Port Au Prince turned out in record numbers, unified in their demands. While workers did not achieve the 800 Gourdes, this is another positive result of those months of work. They are growing. They are more organized. They are determined.
MGA Haiti, SA was one of the factories that actively pressured the Haitian government to halt workers’ mobilizations and protests for 800 Gourdes. In response to workers unionizing, MGA management banned workers from wearing their union t-shirts to work. They did so anyway.
Haitian garment workers receive the lowest wage in the western hemisphere. Their wages are often consumed just by the transportation costs of getting to and from work. Most workers live in debt, and are often on the brink of hunger and homelessness.
Production quotas are often 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.
Currently, the corrupt Haitian government is also trying to extract a 13% wage tax from garment and other workers. They claim it is for social services provided. Meanwhile, access to electricity, clean water, decent roads, schools and hospitals does not exist.
Haiti is in a state of crisis. These workers face a serious battle, but their organization continues to grow and strengthen. Students, peasants, street vendors & the poor are joining this movement, led by workers.
The RRN stands in solidarity with this growing movement of workers and people fighting for their rights!