Congressman Phil Hare, co-chair of the International Workers Rights Caucus, was joined by 64 of his colleagues today in sending a letter to Russell Corporation CEO John Holland requesting a response to a number of alleged labor violations at its factory in Honduras.
"Troubling reports from credible labor rights monitors detail numerous violations of workers' associational rights at Jerzees de Honduras (Worker Rights Consortium, November 2008, and ILO expert Adrian Goldín, January 2009)," the letter reads. "These include intimidation of union supporters, retaliatory firings, refusal of factory access to government labor inspectors, threats that the factory would be closed if workers unionized, and, ultimately, the closure of the factory."
"The reports out of Russell's Honduras factory amount to nothing less than a full-fledged suppression of workers' fundamental right to organize," Hare said. "This is a violation of both internationally recognized labor standards and Honduran law and deserves a full explanation from Russell, especially for Americans who routinely buy its products."
"The Steelworkers are happy to join with Rep. Hare and others including United Students Against Sweatshops to call attention to the worker rights violations committed by Russell Corporation in Honduras," said USW International President Leo Gerard. "These corporate actions are just the latest example of corporate greed and worker exploitation in Central America. Russell should come to their senses, fix this situation and insure that their other facilities don't act with the same willful disregard for the rights of their workers. The Congressional letter demanding a response should be treated with the upmost sense of urgency. The USW is committed to assist these workers until they receive their justice."
"As we debate legislation to strengthen the right to organize here in the United States, we must also remember our moral obligation to stand up for workers abroad," Hare said. "I look forward to hearing from Russell on its plan to resolve this regrettable situation."