Date: Wed, 11 Mar 98 19:34:26 CST
From: "Workers World" <email@example.com>
Organization: WW Publishers
Subject: Workers around the world: 3/12/98
Via Workers World News Service
Victory for maquila workers
Workers World, 12 March 1998
Two thousand garment workers at the Chentex Garment Factory in Managua, Nicaragua, won their battle for union recognition on Feb. 17. The recognition comes after two strikes against a vicious management and government anti-union campaign.
The Taiwanese-owned Chentex is part of the Las Mercedes Free Trade Zone. It produces garments for big U.S. clothing retailers like J.C. Penney, Wal-Mart, Kmart and Bugle Boy.
Eighteen hundred Chentext workers walked off the job Jan. 26, after bosses fired 21 of 90 workers who had signed a petition for union recognition. On Feb. 5, Ministry of Labor Inspector General Emilio Noguera visited the factory. He told workers that the government would not certify the new union.
That changed when the entire work force walked out again on Feb. 16. The next day, the government recognized the Federation of Textile, Garment, Leather and Shoe Workers (CST) as the workers' union. Unionists are now preparing for their first contract negotiation.
CST leaders say their victory will go a long way toward unionizing the whole Free Trade Zone. Workers at the U.S.- owned Mil Colores factory in the zone are also organizing a union, according to the U.S. solidarity group Nicaragua Network.
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