Sportswear maker Russell Corp. fired workers in an apparel plant in Choloma, Honduras in October because of their unionization efforts. Russell is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, the investment firm of Warren Buffett. One of the wealthiest men in the world, Buffett has stressed throughout his career the importance of ethical business practices.
After pressure from many universities and colleges, organized by United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS), Russell offered to rehire the workers.
Reinstatement talks broke down, however, after Russell offered only a 4-cents-per-day pay increase. Days after negotiations stalled, Russell said it was closing the plant.
The company claimed a lack of orders, but an independent investigation from the sweatshop monitoring group Worker Rights Consortium concluded that the unionization efforts played a factor in Russell’s decision. Workers say managers and the Central American labor relations director for Russell stated many times the plant would close because of the union.
According to the WRC, the closure will throw about 1,800 people out of work.
Many universities and colleges have already terminated their contracts with Russell because of the closures, and Russell workers are touring U.S. campuses with USAS, calling for a boycott of the company. Russell manufactures athletic apparel for universities and colleges, as well as licensed apparel for sports teams. It mainly produces shirts, sweatshirts, and sweatpants with various logos on them.
Help support the workers in Choloma and tell Warren Buffett to put an end to these unethical practices. Send letters to Warren Buffett, 1440 Kiewit Plaza, Omaha, NE 68131, or email Berkshire Hathaway . Join the online pressure campaign at: www.unionvoice.org.Related Links
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