Friday, June 22, 2007

Save Me From My Materialism Garage Sale!

That's right, we are holding another garage sale this weekend! This time it's at 6822 16th Ave N.E., one block east of Roosevelt High School. For directions or info on how you can help, call Stacey at 206-372-7893.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

More Press!

See today's UW Daily for coverage of the protest (here). And, in case you missed it, the front page of yesterday's Seattle P.I. (here). Help keep this story in the news by sending letters to the editors of both papers!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Quick Ways To Continue Support

1. Call Macy's, Talbots, and Liz Claiborne.
2. Sign our online petition.
3. Come to the garage sale June 23rd an 24th [6822 16th Ave NE].
4. Email a U.S. senator or representative.

Talking points for calling the brands:

1. DEMAND that threats, intimidation, and attacks against union leaders immediately stop. [Say that a union leader was surrounded by a group of men and received death threats. This violates countless laws and basic human rights, and the lives of these women are literally in the brands' hands.]

2. DEMAND that Cimatextiles be immediately reopened and that enough business is redirected to the factory to ensure that it operates at full capacity. [Say that Cimatextiles and Choishin are two of the only unionized factories in these brands' supply chains, and that they are not following their company codes of conduct if they don't stand up for factories in which the right to freedom of association is actually respected.]

3. DEAMND that the union workers of Cimatextiles (SITRACIMA) be immediately reemployed and receive all the benefits they are entitled to under law and from past agreements. [Say that the companies should act to stand up for union workers and one of the few factories in which freedom of association and other priniciples in their codes of conduct are respected. Also, note the fact that the factory closed illegally, the workers haven't received the severance agreed to with management, and that company codes of conduct, and Guatemalan and international laws are being broken.]

4. DEMAND that new orders be immediately redirected to Choishin to ensure that the factory operates at full capacity. [Say that work orders have decreased and that the companies should stand up for unionized workers and factories in which their codes of conduct are actually respected.]

5. DEMAND that the union workers of Choishin (SITRACHOI) remain employed and that their rights are respected. [Say that the companies should stand up for unionized workers and factories in which their codes of conduct are actually respected.]

Contact information:

Liz Claiborne Inc: Dial 212-626-3442 and ask to speak to CEO Bill McComb.

Talbots: Dial 781-749-7600, ask to speak with Consumer Relations.

Macy's: Dial 646-429-5255, ask to speak with Holly Thomas, PR Director

Update From Union Leaders

We spoke with the union leaders on Friday; they had a crisis because the workers have still not been paid their severance pay as promised. The workers showed up to be paid and when the company started the procedures to pay them, they were calculating the amount owed the workers at a much lower rate than the workers believed they were due.

The workers have now gone two weeks without receiving any payment and the company keeps putting off paying them. People are desperate, were yelling, and there were moments when it seemed violence might break out. A union leader said the Jefe de Personal was making comments that were tantamount to incitement, saying things like "Aqui se va armar un gran relajo" (Hard to translate, something like 'major stuff is going to go down here') which instead of calming people down, made them more upset. Then the company said that workers could receive their payment right then (at the lesser amount that the company was offering according to its own calculations), or else nothing. Some workers (by one estimation about 80) agreed to receive the lesser amount because they needed the money and felt it was so uncertain that the company would ever come through on its promises that they should just take what they could get; others refused on principle. Then the company announced they wanted to suspend the entire payment process.

At some point then the workers went to the offices of the Labor Inpsectorate (we spoke with a union leader as she was on her way home from that meeting). She said the Labor Inspectors had interviewed them. In a meeting yesterday -- they have been having meetings because the company keeps putting off paying the workers, in violation of the deal they made with the union, and yesterday the workers held a public manifestation to demand payment -- one of the Labor Inspectors said that he, too, was receiving threats in conjunction with this case. So it's not only the workers, but now government officials investigating the case that have been threatened.

The head of the Sitracima union received a threatening text message on her cellphone the night of June 13. She did not want to repeat to us what the message said because she said it had extremely obscene words on it and she was riding on a bus. But she still had the message on her cell phone yesterday and another worker had seen it.

While workers from Choishin have not been under as much pressure as those at Cimatextiles, they believe they are headed down the same path because they have begun to see decreasing orders. A union leader told us that three lines in Choishin are currently producing clothes only for the local market (not for export), and that in the warehouse she has seen a lack of material waiting for production. So they know the orders aren't coming in, and they are very concerned that they are going to be next.

She also expressed her gratitude to us for all the actions we are taking on their behalf and her eagerness to keep in touch.


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.