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Breakthrough at Style Avenue in El Salvador Producing Licensed Collegiate Clothing

December, 08 2011 Share

 

After the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights and the Salvadoran union FEASIES exposed serious worker rights violations at Style Avenue (see "Dressing Babies in Sweatshop Clothes: Dallas Cowboys, Ohio State and a Creepy Business-Style Avenue in El Salvador," October 2011), the collegiate labels producing in the factory committed to an extensive remediation plan to end the violations, improve working conditions and finally bring Style Avenue into compliance with Salvadoran labor law.

College Kids and Outerstuff are fully engaged and committed to quickly implement the agreed upon remediation plan.  (NFL and Dallas Cowboys infant and toddler creepers were also sewn under an illegal subcontract at Style Avenue.)

The Independent Monitoring Group of El Salvador, GMIES, was chosen by the labels to conduct a thorough investigation of factory conditions at Style Avenue.

The GMIES auditors found a history of violations:

  • Illegal and excessive mandatory workshifts;
  • Sexual harassment by a male supervisor;
  • Routine verbal abuse on the part of supervisors;
  • Scorching factory temperatures;
  • Violation of workers' legal right to organize a union;
  • Contaminated and unsafe drinking water;
  • Overtime not recorded on the pay stubs (recently corrected);
  • Management illegally delays mandatory payments into the Social Security health and pension fund, which seriously jeopardizes the workers' wellbeing;
  • Vacation pay is not paid on time;
  • Violation of freedom of movement (recently corrected);
  • Wages-though technically legal-come nowhere near providing even a minimally decent standard of living.


On December 6, representatives of College Kids, OuterStuff, Standard Group and Style Avenue's owner joined a meeting with the FEASIES union and their local in the factory, the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights and GMIES, the independent monitoring group.

At the meeting, the collegiate labels fully committed to immediately support the remediation plan to bring Style Avenue into full compliance with El Salvador's labor laws.  Style Avenue's owner and staff will certainly need continued scrutiny, encouragement and pressure.  For example, days after investigators left the factory, some production lines were kept for mandatory excessive overtime.  Moreover, Style Avenue's owner is delaying the necessary step of terminating the former human resources manager, Wilda Quintanilla, who has consistently violated every labor law in El Salvador.

On December 14, the FEASIES union and their local will meet with Style Avenue's owner for the first negotiation session.

At the meeting, the collegiate labels fully committed to immediately support the remediation plan to bring Style Avenue into full compliance with El Salvador's labor laws.  We would like to note the role of the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) in bringing the labels to the table and emphasizing the need for a swift and energetic response.

It certainly will not be easy, but if we stick together, with consistent follow-up and continued pressure, the Style Avenue workers may just have a shot at finally winning their legal rights, one step at a time.

It is good to hear something positive these days. 

We will keep you posted, and have a happy holiday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Campaign: Style Avenue/El Salvador—NFL, NCAA & Walmart Caught in Sweatshop Scandal