Alerts

Guatemalan sweatshop target of USTR Probe

September, 22 2010 Share

 

TO:  Key Contacts
FROM:  Charlie Kernaghan
RE:  Guatemalan sweatshop target of USTR Probe

 

Workers at the Alianza Fashion factory in Guatemala, sewing clothing for Briggs New York, Sag Harbor, Fashion Bug, Alfani and JM Collection—are fired and blacklisted for daring to exercise their legal right to organize. 

Alianza management has—over the course of years—robbed the workers of their Social Security deductions and failed to pay their legally required employer portion—meaning workers and their families have no access to healthcare and denied their pensions, despite paying for them.

All overtime is mandatory.  Twelve-hour shifts are common.  Supervisors yell and curse at the women, "Hurry up, you shit!"  Leaders of CEADEL, the local NGO assisting the workers have received death threats.

Corporate monitoring has once again failed miserably.

The complaint against Guatemala, announced by the United States Trade Representative’s office on July 30 and the first labor rights case ever under a U.S. free trade agreement could set a major precedent, where governments, factories and labels are finally held accountable to respect workers’ legal rights. If this happens, the joy ride for sweatshops may be over.

 

Click here to view the report online or download the PDF version.