Alerts

Write a Letter to Hanes, Wal-Mart, Puma and J.C. Penney

October, 24 2006 Share

Tell them not to cut and run, and to send these children to school.

Read the most recent update on the situation at Harvest Rich.

Read the NLC report on child labor in the Harvest Rich factory.

Action Alert

Monday, October 23, 2006

Please Write Hanes, Puma, Wal-Mart and J.C. Penney


More than 100 Child Workers Fired from Harvest Rich

After threatening to sue the National Labor Committee and after stating that Harvest Rich was "free of child labor," that "adhering to company policy, we do not employ anyone below 18" and that "Harvest Rich Ltd. has a...valid WRAP Certification" from the U.S. apparel industry, Harvest Rich fired more than 100 child workers while at the same time threatening that any worker found cooperating with the independent investigation of abusive factory conditions will also be fired. This is the exact opposite of what we asked Harvest Rich and the U.S. companies to do.  Children belong in school, not locked in sweatshops.  We demanded that every child worker be given a monthly stipend sufficient to replace their highest wages—so that they and their families would not have to suffer any further—while also meeting basic school expenses such as uniforms, shoes, textbooks and other necessary supplies.

More than the fate of 100-plus child workers hangs in the balance

After receiving a letter from the National Labor Committee, Harvest Rich seems to be re-evaluating the mass firing of so many child workers.

On Sunday, October 22, Harvest Rich managers held an hour-long meeting with the child workers, telling them that they were not fired and should return to the factory on Saturday, October 28 after the Eid religious holiday.  The children were told that at that time management would decide to go ahead with the mass firings or pay for the children's education.  Harvest Rich's managing director, Mr. M.A. Bari, was also in the plant most of Sunday, October 22, where—according to the workers—the usual threats were made that he would close the factory down if workers continued to speak with "outsiders" in a way that damages the image of the factory.  In other words, if workers dare speak the truth, or even ask that their most basic rights be respected, the factory will close.

On one hand, Harvest Rich's backing off from the firings is a very positive step forward.  Harvest Rich is now tacitly admitting that they did, in fact, hire under-aged children.  If the U.S. companies would only raise their voices, these child workers would be going back to school where they belong.

On the other hand, the question again arises, how Hanes, Puma, Wal-Mart and J.C. Penney could all have failed to notice that children as young as 11 were sewing their clothing—children who were routinely beaten, forced to work 11 to 14 hours a day, often seven days a week, including grueling all-night 19 to 20-hour shifts, for as little as 6 ½ cents an hour.  If the U.S. companies and Harvest Rich are not now compelled to send these child workers to school, then the real message left behind will be a Green Light for corporations to sink to even greater depths of exploitation.  If we cannot successfully address the blatant exploitation of child labor, what issues will we be able to deal with?  Especially coming on the heels of the U.S.-Jordan Free Trade Agreement's descent—in  broad daylight and over the course of several years—into human trafficking and involuntary servitude, the American people need to draw the line, setting legal human and worker rights standards below which we will not allow the companies to go.

 


 

 

 

 

 Click the links below to send an email to the company.

Model Letter

We encourage you to either write your own letter or to personalize the model letter below. 

Click here to see an example of a personalized letter written by Rev. William Somplatsky-Jarman of the Presbyterian Church.

I am deeply disturbed that children are being exploited to sew your company's clothing at the Harvest Rich factory in Bangladesh.  I hope you agree that children belong in school and not locked in sweatshops where they are beaten, forced to work grueling hours and paid just pennies.  I expect your company to immediately provide stipends sufficient to replace the highest wages these children earned—so that they and their families do not suffer further—while also covering their basic school costs, including uniforms, shoes, text books and educational supplies, so that these children can return to school where they belong.

Cutting and running, and pulling production from the factory is not the answer.  In fact, it is the worst thing you could do, since i t would only further punish the workers, who have already suffered enough.  Rather, your company should stay at the factory and work together with your contractor to guarantee that the legal rights of the workers are finally respected.

The Bangladeshi workers' demands are so extremely modest.  The workers say that if they could earn just 36 cents an hour, they and their families could climb out of misery and into poverty where they could exist with a modicum of dignity.  Surely your company could afford this.  Will Hanes pay at least 36 cents an hour to workers in Bangladesh who are sewing your garments?  If not—why?

Finally, I urge your company to release the names and addresses of the factories you use around the world to make the goods you expect us to purchase.  This single act of transparency and good faith will go a long way to restore consumer confidence that you are not trying to hide child labor and abusive sweatshop conditions at other factories. 

Some companies send out generalized form letters in response to their customers' concerns.  Please, I ask you not to do this.  I find that practice offensive.  The exploitation of children and the gross violation of fundamental human, women's and workers' rights standards are serious matters and demand an equally serious and concrete response from you. 

Thank you,

 Hanes
 Wal-Mart
 Puma
 J.C. Penney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Fax a Letter

Hanes

Click here to download a model letter to Hanes in a Word Document.

Mr. Lee Chaden, Executive Chairman Hanesbrands, Inc.
1000 East Hanes Mill Road
Winston-Salem, NC 27105
Fax: 336-519-4667                                                

Wal-Mart

Click here to download a model letter to Wal-Mart in a Word Document

Mr. Lee Scott, CEO
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
702 SW 8th Street
Bentonville, AK 72716
Fax: 479-277-1830

Puma

Click here to download a model letter to Puma in a Word Document

Jay Piccola, President and General Manager,
PUMA North America
5 Lyberty Way
Westford, MA 01886
Fax: 978-698-1174

J.C. Penney

Click here to download a model letter to J.C. Penney in a Word Document

Mr. Myron Ullman, Chairman and CEO
J C Penney Corporation, Inc.
6501 Legacy Drive
Plano, TX 75024-3698
Fax: 972-431-1944