Maquila Emergency

Monday, October 15, 2007

Act Now - Email

Many people over at the P.I.'s Soundoff discussion board have asked what they can do to help. Union leaders from both SITRACIMA and SITRACHOI have asked for our help in pressuring the brands to send their own representatives to Guatemala:

"Please send an email to Lauren Cooke (, LCI Customer Relations (, Daryl Brown (, Frank Kelly (, Roberta Karp (, Holly Thomas (, Fernando Pinsiri (, Betsy Thompson (, and Julie Lorigan ( asking them what they are going to do in response to this letter requesting their presence during negotiations. Factory management from Choishin has shown no interest in negotiating with our unions, complying with any past agreements they have signed, or responding to the FLA's independent investigation and the Coverco report. This makes the brands' presence here even more crucial.

Thank you for your support—your involvement is very important to us.


The letter referred to can be found here.


Good work to everybody who participated in the actions over the past two weekends, and good luck to the unions in their protest today. If you haven't already, check out the coverage in today's P.I.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Update From Guatemala

I received a call from Doña Gloria this morning in which she was very angry and worried. For the last few days Choishin has re-contracted workers from OUTSIDE Cimatextiles/SITRACIMA, despite the fact that management promised on many occasions that if there were a need for personnel at Choishin they would give priority to the list of approximately 147 affiliated SITRACIMA members. The only thing I am aware of that can be done is Gloria is going to write up a small "nota" and take it to the management. We are awaiting communication from the attorneys at FESTRAS to see what else can be done.

You guys are such a CRUCIAL part of this fight! These women have not lost hope due to your international solidarity and support! You are on the right track and have done so much planning for the upcoming events and I have 100% faith in you all that we can get some people to turn out, draw attention to this fight in the press, and get the brands attention so they come to Guatemala to negotiate directly with the unions!!


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

FLA Report Released

The Fair Labr Association has released the results of the independent investigation it commissioned regarding Cimatextiles and Choshin. The complete report, press release, and executive summary of the report are all available on the FLA website, under Statements and Press Releases. It agrees with nearly everything we've been saying about violation's of workers' rights. It denies the gun incident due to lack of corroboration, which sucks but isn't unexpected. And it says that the 6/6 agreement doesn't legally bind the company to reopen the factory, but implies that while legally the factory doesn't have to reopen, it should in order to fulfil the spirit of the agreement. It's good to read, to realize nearly everything we've said about this case is verified by a neutral observer.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Here are some updates based on a phone conversation between Angelina and the Liz Claiborne reps:

The Future of Cimatextiles
The president of the company that operates the factories announced late last week that Cimatextiles is not going to reopen. Ever. It is going to be converted to a finishing, packing, and laundry facility for Choishin. Inasmuch as there are jobs in that facility, the president said preference would be given to people from Cimatextiles, but those jobs would not be for sewing operators, but for lower level jobs in finishing, packing and laundry. When asked what the implications of this for the union leadership who have remained on payroll during these three months might be, Daryl and George (of Liz Claiborne) said they were unsure. About the closure of Cimatextiles, Daryl said "this is downsizing; it could be worse."

Agreement to Re-Open
Daryl and George consulted their representative in Guatemala, Fernando Pinsiri, on the agreement signed between management and unions, and Pinsiri told them there is no specific commitment in the agreement to reopen on 9/1, so therefore if the factory doesn't reopen they are not reneging on any commitment.

Closure of Choisin?
George talked to Pinsiri about the closure of Choishin. Pinsiri says this is a false rumor. According to Pinsiri, management had been trying to explore the option of "proposing" some vacation time for Choishin but since then received more orders and now has enough orders that they don't need to do this. Choishin is operating (supposedly) at 90% capacity at this time.

George asked Pinsiri about the blacklisting that union workers have encountered and Pinsiri said there is no blacklist. Rather, he said the problem was that there was such a large surplus of labor in Guatemala in general, and so workers have trouble getting jobs, and they might assume that the reason is because they're being blacklisted, but that's not true, "there is no specific list," it's just that jobs are scarce. Here Angelina insisted that that was not believable to us after having heard many workers' testimonies about being turned away specifically and explicitly because of their union affiliation, and in one case a worker being shown her name on a list on a computer screen. She insisted that there was more here than simply an excess of labor and a shortage of jobs, and that many workers had had the blacklisting experience specifically at Hansol, a factory from which Liz Claiborne also sources. They said they would "look into it."

Severance Pay Discrepancies
George talked to Pinsiri about the severance pay still owed to some workers, and Pinsiri said that the reason for the differences of opinion (about how much money is owed) was because management calculated the compensation on the basis of base pay, not incentives, and the workers wanted the calculations to be based on incentives. Pinsiri said that Guatemalan law supports the calculation that management did; Angelina responded saying that the workers had told us that the Guatemalan Minstry of Labor had issued a judgment siding with them in this matter, saying that the incentive pay had to be calculated into severance. They said they would "call the Guatemalan Minister of Labor" to see if he could get them "something in writing" about this.

- - -

To end the post with some uplifting news, Travis and Michelle stumbled upon a protest led by factory workers from 6 different factories. They will be attending another protest with these workers; hopefully more news to come from them soon.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Act Now - Phone Calls

We need to continue to call the brands! The following is an updated version of names, phone numbers, and talking points.


Action is needed now to tell the U.S. brands Liz Claiborne, Talbots, and Macy's/Charter Club that these violations of workers' fundamental human and labor rights must stop.

Talbots: Betsy Thompson, (781) 741-4066,

Liz Claiborne: Daryl Brown, VP of Human Rights Compliance (201) 295-7895

Macy's: Holly Thomas, PR Director, (646) 429-5250,

Demand that the U.S. brands use their influence to:

1. Uphold the Cimatextiles factory's agreement with the union to reopen the factory on September 1st, and to rehire union workers immediately.

2. Ensure that the Choi Shin factory is reopened and union workers are rehired immediately.

3. Send high-level representatives to Guatemala to directly monitor the situation and meet with the unions.

4. Guarantee that any fired workers are paid their severance and back wages in the full and correct amount.

5. Continue monitoring Cimatextiles and Choi Shin factory's management to ensure that no more Guatemalan labor and human rights laws are violated.

Thank you for your solidarity

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Hola Compañer@s!

We worked all day yesterday with FESTRAS (the union federation Sitracima and Sitrachoi are affiliated with) and union leadership to get the letter out to the brands and the international labor organizations and we are excited about the responses that should start flooding in!

As far as labor organizations:
- Rob from the Solidarity Center, STITCH, and USLeap have both sent out letters of concerns to the brands

And we are hoping for a prompt reply from the brands.

It seemed to be a great way to unite FESTRAS, union leadership as well as the UWGP, in a true display of collective action and solidarity!

Please see this google document to check out the English cover letter to the brands, as well a letter from FESTRAS (Spanish) and a full report on the unions´ cases (Spanish):

That´s all for now!

the fauxkawk trio


The workers at the Guatemalan factory CimaTextiles formed a union in 2001. They won a collective bargaining agreement in 2003, and since then have struggled to protect their gains. The corporation which owns the factory, Choi & Shin Co., Inc., consistently tries to break the union's back, and has since its inception. etc. etc. Here is the union's wiki. Here are the pictures from the protest. Here is the urgent action.

This section is under construction. Thank you for your patience.