Test test test test test test test
Test test test test test test test
Date: March 17, 2021
Time: 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. EST
Place: Virtual. Registration required
Our event is part of the NGO CSW65 Virtual Forum. To join, please register as a “NGO CSW65 Virtual Forum Advocate,” which will give you access to the virtual platform. Once you register as an Advocate, you will receive an email with the subject, “NGO CSW65 Virtual Forum Information” that contains a personalized link to access your account, set up a profile, and register for events. Once on the platform, you can use the search bar and type in the name of the event to access and sign up to attend the event by clicking on the “+” sign to add the event to your own agenda in the platform. You can contact Nour Abdel-Ghani at email@example.com for assistance with these directions.
Date: Tuesday, May 24, 2022
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., EDT
Place: Virtual. Registration required. (NEW registration link)
Please join the Solidarity Center for a discussion of a new report on collective bargaining agreements as tools for addressing poor working conditions in global supply chains.
Dr. Mark Anner, report author, director of the Center for Global Workers’ Rights and professor of labor and employment relations at Pennsylvania State University; Solidarity Center Executive Director Shawna Bader-Blau; senior labor leaders from Honduras Evangelina Argueta, Joel Lopez and Maria Elena Sabillon, as well as Worker Rights Consortium Field Director of the Americas Tara Mathur will share new insights on the impact of collective bargaining.
The report, “Bargaining for Decent Work and Beyond: Transforming Work and Lives through Collective Bargaining Agreements in the Honduran Maquila Sector” was commissioned by the Solidarity Center and draws its findings from original research in Honduras, principally the garment industry. Findings include that:
For more information, contact event organizer Tom Egan, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Anner, Pennsylvania State University Center for Global Workers’ Rights (CGWR) Director, and Labor and Employment Relations and Political Science Associate Professor
Mark Anner, whose field research has taken him to Bangladesh, Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras and Vietnam, has written about international labor solidarity, labor law reform in Latin America, strikes in Vietnam and corporate social responsibility in the global apparel industry. He is currently examining how pricing and other sourcing dynamics in global supply chains affect working conditions and worker rights. Anner also directs Penn State’s labor and global workers’ rights master’s degree program, which is a part of the Global Labor University network. He holds a doctorate in government from Cornell University and a master’s degree in Latin American studies from Stanford University.
Evangelina Argueta, General Workers Central (CGT, Honduras) Representative, and Maquila Organizing Project Coordinator
Evangelina Argueta—who, at age 16, helped found a union at the factory where she had worked—negotiated landmark agreements with apparel brands Fruit of the Loom and Nike, in 2009 and 2010. Leading the CGT garment worker organizing program, she helped organize 27 unions representing nearly 30,000 garment workers, and now serves on bi- and tripartite commissions setting Honduras garment worker wages and conditions. As current coordinator of the Central American Regional Coordinating Body of Apparel and Textile Unions, Argueta serves as a role model for working women and provides mentorship and support for women taking on leadership positions in their unions.
Joel López, Independent Federation of Workers of Honduras (FITH) General Secretary
In addition to leading FITH, López serves on the political commission of the Central American Coordinating Body of Maquila and Textile Unions, and helps lead the Network of Garment Worker Unions of Honduras. López holds a bachelor’s degree in legal and social sciences with a specialization in labor law.
Tara Mathur, Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) Field Director for the Americas
Tara Mathur, who has worked with the WRC for more than 16 years, led a field investigation on freedom of association violations at Honduras Fruit of the Loom factories that resulted in the CGT union negotiating and signing the “Washington Agreement” with the company. Mathur leads the WRC’s work in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean to document, report on and engage with buyers on remedying worker rights violations at garment factories.
María Elena Sabillón, Solidarity Center Senior Coordinator, Honduras
A labor lawyer and fearless advocate for apparel sector workers and their organizations, Sabillón has worked for the Solidarity Center in Honduras since 2011. She currently serves as a worker-side representative on the Fruit of the Loom (FOTL) Supervisory Committee responsible for monitoring the framework agreement on freedom of association and collective bargaining in Honduran FOTL factories. Sabillón holds a law degree and master’s degree in criminal law and procedures from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras (UNAH), and a doctorate in labor law, social security and human rights from Universidad de San Carlos (USAC) de Guatemala.
Moderated by Shawna Bader-Blau, Solidarity Center Executive Director
Haiti garment workers should be paid four times their current salaries just to keep pace with the cost of living, a new Solidarity Center study finds. The High Cost of Low Wages in Haiti: A Living Wage Estimate for Garment Workers in Port-au-Prince, determined that based on the current minimum wage ($781 per month), workers spend almost a third (31.39 percent) of their take-home pay on transportation to and from work and a modest lunch to sustain their labor.
“The Haitian government must ensure that workers earn life-supporting wages,” according to the study, which recommends the Haiti government increase the minimum wage to a living wage and ensure that “workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining are fully respected, so that workers are empowered to negotiate wage increases and improve working conditions with employers.”
The report builds on two previous living wage studies the Solidarity Center published in 2014 and 2019 and an unpublished 2011 living wage report that demonstrate the daily minimum wage for garment workers is far less than the estimated cost of living—including in 2019, when inflation was 18.7 percent. The latest data from May 2022 show Haiti’s inflation rate at 27.8 percent.
Garment workers say that despite recent improvements in benefits, the current wage is far from what they need. In August, Haitian garment workers in Port-Au-Prince scored a victory after a coalition of unions negotiated an agreement with the government to provide garment workers with transportation and food stipends. The government made improvements in February, after garment workers and their unions held protests in January demanding a living wage in line with the Haitian Labor Code, which stipulates that if the inflation rate exceeds 10 percent, the wage is to be adjusted.
Haitians, especially the most marginalized, are suffering from a wave of violence this year that, along with fuel shortages, impact transport along Haiti’s roadways, preventing many apparel workers from getting to work and materials from arriving at factories. After paying a significant portion of their wages for transportation to work—and enduring an often-dangerous journey—some apparel workers are sent home without pay because the factory has not received supplies necessary for production, according to the report.
The country’s garment industry is the largest source of formal employment for workers in Haiti, where the majority of 58,571 garment workers are women and often the only wage earners for their families. Yet they routinely face worker rights abuses, including occupational safety and health violations and wage theft. Factory management frequently do not pay into the national health insurance system for occupational injury, sickness and maternity (OFATMA), failures that even have led to worker death.
To compile the study, three data collectors in May and June surveyed the prices of products and services for a locally appropriate basket of goods, including housing, transportation, food and education and used the standard 48-hour work week to determine cost of living needs.
A new Labor Center in Mexico will advise workers about their rights and how to mobilize and organize unions and collectively bargain. The Labor Center, at the Autonomous University of Querétaro in central Mexico, is supported by the Solidarity Center and the Labor Center of the University of California.
“The aim is to strengthen and promote the full recognition of labor rights, freedom of association and organization, and the democratic participation of workers through research, linkage and accompaniment,” said Labor Center Director Dr. Javier Salinas García. Salinas spoke at a recent Solidarity Center event in Mexico to announce the opening.
The Labor Center comes three years after Mexico’s government announced a series of comprehensive labor reforms to establish a democratic unionization process, address corruption in the labor adjudication system and eradicate employer protection (“charro”) unions prevalent in the country.
The Labor Center is “a way to respond to the needs of the situation,” said Beatriz García, Solidarity Center Mexico deputy program director.
“I think we all agree that Mexico is going through a historic moment. The labor reform responds to the demands that have been the objectives of the struggle of many workers for years, for decades, and reflects some positive practices of the independent unions,” she said.
The event featured a panel of independent union members and leaders who discussed the future of the labor movement in Mexico in the wake of historic labor law reforms.
Panelists explored the role that democratic and independent trade unions in promoting labor reform implementation in Mexico three years after the 2019 Labor Reform and negotiations of the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement (UMSCA/T-MEC).
Speakers shared how they are using the tools of labor reform to organize on their worksites.
“We are the delegates, and we call our colleagues to share information about the Union League,” said Sonia Cristina García Bernal. “We have helped colleagues who were told they were going to be fired without severance pay. We have been able to get them severance pay. We have been able to get them rehired.”
“After these three years, the tool that we use the most is fast response mechanisms,” said Imelda Guadalupe Jiménez Méndez. “This has been a very important tool.”
In addition to Beatriz García, speakers included: Imelda Guadalupe Jiménez Méndez, Secretary for Political Affairs, the Miners Union (Los Mineros); Julieta Mónica Morales, General Secretary, Mexican Workers’ Union League (Liga Obrera Mexicana); Rita Guadalupe Lozano Tristán, Mexican Workers’ Union League (Liga Obrera Mexicana); Alejandra Morales, General Secretary, Independent Union of National Workers in the Automotive Industry; and Sonia Cristina García Bernal, Special Delegate, Mexican Workers’ Union League (Liga Obrera Mexicana).
Workers demanding relief from inflationary pressure on wages will launch a general strike on Thursday unless the Kosovo government grants public sector workers an emergency wage increase of almost $100 per month. This proposed amount will provide most public sector workers—including doctors and nurses—with an immediate 20 percent increase in lieu of a long-delayed wage law, says the Union of Independent Trade Unions of Kosovo (BSPK).
“It is the [failure of] the wage law that obliges us to go on strike,” says BSPK Chairperson Atdhe Hykolli, who announced that the work stoppage will last until the workers’ plea for relief is met.
According to BSPK, Kosovo’s workers and their families can no longer meet their basic needs due to historic inflation. The country’s inflation rate is inching higher each month, reaching a 14-year high of more than 14 percent in June and it increased again in July.
Escalating costs for food and non-alcoholic beverages, housing and utilities, and transportation are the main driver of inflationary pressure on wages in Kosovo. For the 12 months ending in June this year, the cost of transportation increased more than 30 percent while the cost of food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by more than 17 percent. From 2003 through 2021, the country’s inflation rate was less than two percent per year. The average public sector worker’s take-home pay of $542 has not increased since 2021.
“The situation for workers in Kosovo is like those in many countries around the world: Rising costs coupled with stagnant wages is simply not sustainable,” says Solidarity Center Southeastern Europe Country Program Director Steven McCloud.