Alerts

Model letter to Briggs New York/Kellwood

February, 23 2009 Share

Michael W. Kramer, CEO
Kellwood Company
600 Kellwood Parkway
Chesterfield, MO 63017

Dear Mr Kramer:

I write on an urgent matter, seeking your intervention and assistance regarding one of your contract factories in Guatemala—the Nicotex factory.  Many of Guatemala's labor laws, not to mention worker rights standards encompassed in the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement, are being routinely and systematically violated at the Nicotex plant.  Treatment at the factory is offensive, production goals excessive, all overtime is mandatory, workers are shortchanged or cheated of their legal bonuses, health care, maternity leave, their vacation pay and the severance due them.  It is not uncommon for the workers to be at the factory over 70 hours a week, while earning a base wage of 76 cents an hour, which with all bonuses included can rise to $1.15 an hour.  This wage is not sufficient to meet even the most minimal subsistence level needs of the Nicotex workers.  Moreover, the legal right to organize a union is systematically and grossly violated at the plant.

The last thing we want your company to do is to pull your work from Nicotex.  This would only further harm the workers, who have already suffered enough.  Rather, I urge you to keep your work in the Nicotex factory, while at the same time working with your contractor to clean up the plant and taking concrete steps to guarantee that the fundamental legal rights of the workers will finally be respected.  If such steps are taken, this could become a win-win situation for the workers, the Nicotex factory, Kellwood and the American people who purchase your clothing. 

Given that the Briggs New York label accounts for approximately 80 percent of the production at the Nicotex plant, this provides you with an incredibly powerful voice, and one that the owners of Nicotex cannot ignore. 

Sincerely,

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