Date: Mon, 17 May 1999 22:30:15 -0500 (CDT)
From: Campaign for Labor Rights <>
Subject: Haiti/Disney: no work at Megatex
Article: 64521
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <>

No work at Megatex; no answer from Disney

Campaign for Labor Rights, Labor Alerts, 16 May 1999


There has been little or no work at Megatex, a factory in Port-au-Prince, Haiti which manufacturers clothing for Disney and other brands and which has been the focus of several previous alerts posted by Campaign for Labor Rights. Without paychecks, workers cannot afford transportation to come to union meetings. Organizing has been on hold. The workers, who had struggled to get by on their meager pay when they worked full-time, are now in great financial distress.

Although the situation at Megatex is more dire than at most factories, the entire export production sector is spiraling down. Foreign capital is deserting the country as Haiti slips further and further into political and economic chaos. Factories which still are operational have to generate their own power, since electricity from public sources is completely unreliable.

Years of U.S.-engineered UN occupation have left Haiti’s fundamental problems unresolved. Policies dictated by the International Monetary Fund remain in force. The oligarchy remains firmly in power. Vast disparities in wealth remain institutionalized. Repressive forces remain armed and present, even if not necessarily in their previous official positions. Crime and violence are on the rise, not only as a result of social breakdown, but also probably as a deliberate effort by some to hasten political crisis.

The U.S. government is likely to keep the lid on coup attempts in Haiti until after the U.S. Presidential election. Another flood of refugees from Haiti would damage Gore’s chances for office. Various agencies of the U.S. government are certainly operational in Haiti at this time. However, it is unclear what is the long-term U.S. strategic objective in the country. The current level of political dysfunction is not conducive to extracting profits from cheap labor in the export sector. Some speculate that the goal may be to crush Haiti, to make an example of it for other countries considering the kind of change briefly represented by Aristide before the coup.

The Haitian populace has little to hope for in the way of immediate political change for the better. What is happening now is mainly a jockeying for position among fiefdoms. The forces which seem to represent popular interests are probably too weak to be credible contenders for power at this time. Several players in the political arena make appeals to popular interests—over issues such as privatization—but there is no viable genuine popular movement at this time.


In January, the union representing workers at the Megatex factory wrote to Disney CEO Michael Eisner, asking him to intervene and help resolve issues there, including grossly inadequate pay and unrealistically high production quotas. The letter also talked about the importance of continuing to place orders at Megatex at a level which would sustain full employment.

The letter was translated by supporters in the United States and then in February was forwarded to Eisner by Campaign for Labor Rights, along with a cover letter signed by several U.S. human rights organizations. And now, three months later, the union is still waiting for a response from Disney.

As those of you who have responded to our alerts know, the Disney public relations department is quick to reply to letters from its consumer base. Letters from the company are filled with assurances that all is well at Megatex. However, when workers—the people who have produced so much wealth for Disney—write to the company, the only reply is silence.