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Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Thu, 3 Jul 97 19:26:45 CDT
From: rich%pencil@UKCC.uky.edu (Rich Winkel)
Organization: PACH
Subject: Haiti: Urgent Call- L.V. Myles UPDATE
Article: 13926

/** reg.nicaragua: 37.0 **/
** Topic: Urgent Call- L.V. Myles UPDATE **
** Written 5:45 PM Jul 2, 1997 by wnu in cdp:reg.nicaragua **
From: Kapab@aol.com (by way of Weekly News Update <wnu@igc.apc.org>)

20 Disney workers fired in L.V. Myles plant - quotas have been raised again!

Batay ouvriye, 1 July 1997

Port-au-Prince - L.V. Myles (one of the Disney Company's main sourcing agents in Haiti) operates an apparel assembly plant in the so-called Industrial Park in Port-au-Prince, a de-facto free trade zone. This factory employs over one thousand workers. Along with 13 other factories in Haiti producing garments under various Disney labels, L.V. Myles pays its workers about half the minimum living wage in Haiti. With salaries ranging from 28c to 39c an hour (from $11.20 to $15.60 per week!) workers are forced to produce at an inhuman rate, under constant verbal abuse and threats of being laid-off or fired. The majority of workers are women and they are also victims of constant sexual harassment and abuse from their supervisors.

Despite recent protests in Haiti and in the US, the abuses that had been reported at the L.V. Myles plant are continuing. After a brief period when management took some token measures to respond to protests of worker harassment and abuse, these practices are resurging. This past week 20 workers were fired after they had completed a 3 month training period, even though these were fully trained workers, some of whom have been working in garment manufacture for over 10 years. After being fired, the same workers are then allowed to re-enlist as trainees. The purpose of these firings is to avoid paying benefits such as vacation days and sick days to these workers and to keep them on a lower wage scale. These practices are also part of management's clamp down campaign, to try to force the workers into submission. L.V. Myles has also introduced new lines of garment production with quotas that are similar in scale to the very same quotas that were denounced as inhuman and that management had cut back (i.e. 1800 operations a day). Abusive practices such as sexual harassment, intimidation and verbal abuse are also on the rise, particularly by supervisors like Chiler and Mrs. Clairmont.

Workers at the L.V. Myles plant are continuing to organize and continuing to protest their abusive treatment. Despite the firings of about 30 workers since May, the struggle goes on. Flyers are being distributed inside the plant and the workers have shown their resolve not to bow down to management's threats. The workers at L.V. Myles call on international solidarity to help them in their struggles against L.V. Myles, a Disney subcontractor implementing the neo-liberal policies of sweatshops for the Third World. Owners of Haitian assembly factories must learn to respect their workers' right to organize to bargain collectively for improvements in salaries and working conditions. This situation must be dealt with through strong actions of protest and solidarity in Haiti and elsewhere every time it occurs.

We urge all progressive and justice-minded individuals and organizations to show their solidarity with the workers at L.V. Myles by sending letters, faxes or calling to demand the following from the L.V. Myles management in Haiti and in the U.S.:

1. The immediate suspension of all acts of intimidation, lay-offs, firings and reprisals against workers trying to organize;

2. The payment of a living wage to all workers, which in Haiti should be at least US $5, and the lowering of quotas.

3. The termination of all acts of sexual harassment, and the improvement of working conditions.

4. The rehiring of all the fired workers;

It is also important to demand that US companies affiliated with Disney subcontractors and/or benefitting from the exploitation of these workers issue public statements asking their business partners in Haiti to stop their acts of reprisal against workers and to uphold all internationally recognized labor conventions concerning workers' rights. Pressure also needs to be brought upon the Disney Company, since the practices of L.V. Myles clearly violate Disney's professed corporate code of conduct and its policy agreement with its subcontractors. Send your letters or faxes to the following persons:

This is an urgent call. Please act now in support of these workers. Pressure should be put on those companies so that they abide by the existing labor laws.

In struggle,

P.O. Box 13326
Delmas, Port-au-Prince
Haiti (W.I.)
Tel. 011-509-22-67-19