Wednesday, August 8, 2007

On the Ground

Estimad@s Compañer@s!

We finally have the long awaited opportunity to sit down and hash out how everything that is going ¨on the ground¨. We are in contact with Doña Gloria and Doña Gilda. We have quickly learned the difficulties that come with a project like this, but are extremely optimistic and excited to begin.

Doña Gloria and her 10-year-old daughter are ill and as a result have been making frequent trips to the clinic. We have been extremely sympathetic to these health concerns which have made organizing a meeting with Gloria a bit difficult. However, we have arranged to pick up Gloria tomorrow after her doctor’s appointment and meet with her to discuss the details of arranging the interviews. We also hope to pick up the final draft of the letter which is written by the workers, addressed to the brands, and will be cc’d to USAS, Solidarity Center, Workers’ Rights Consortium, STITCH, and US-LEAP. This letter is important because the previous organizations will not take direct action on the brands until they receive it.

Gloria reported that she and Gladys are still sleeping in the factory and that there are now armed security guards which patrol the factory every 30 minutes. It has also been difficult to arrange a meeting with her since she needs to support both Gladys in the factory and her sick daughter. She is looking for a way to stop sleeping in the factory, but doesn’t know how to do so without looking like she’s giving up. She also reported that they have a meeting with the lawyer, this Friday at 10 am in the factory. She is very appreciative of our group’s collaborating with her and the other union workers, and it seems to be lifting her spirits.

Gilda has also been busy for obvious reasons but we are contacting her this afternoon to confirm a meeting for Friday. Gilda and Gloria have both reported on rumors that the factories were sold to another international company in order to change personnel and be able to renew the 10 year tax holiday. When a new factory opens they have “10 años de gracias de impuestos”, which allows them to operate for the first 10 years without paying export taxes. This period of time has expired for both factories, which leads the women to believe that they changed owners in order to renew this tax-free period.

Gilda also reported that the conditions are deteriorating at ChoiShin and mentioned specifically concerns about being paid on time, being able to eat breakfast outside the factory before opening the doors, and having adequate time to eat lunch.


We're transferring to the workers over $1300 raised by student activists in Seattle. The money should be in their hands by Thursday, and will be used by the union to support workers without income during the factory's closure.

Well, that´s all for now and we need to get back to work but we are really excited to begin and appreciate all the hard work from the Seattle side!

The Fauxhawk 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.

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