The history of maquila labor in Nicaragua

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Nicaragua labor situation
Letter from Pedro Ortega Mendez, Secy. General of the Textile, Clothing, Leather and Footwear Federation, C.S.T., 2 June 1997. A call for international support for the Nicaraguan workers& demand for the right to organize unions in the Free Trade Zones. After a protracted struggle, a union formed at Fortex achieved legal recognition in December 1996. The signing of the first Collective Bargaining agreement with a foreign company in the Zone was seen as a major victory.
420 textile workers unpaid by private bank
From 420 former workers of Velcas International in the Free Trade Zone, 28 August 1997. Velcas International started operations in the Free Trade Zone in 1991, but soon went into receivership. The bank that ran the company has not met its legal obligations to the workers.
18 months after the Kathie Lee Gifford scandal, sweat shop conditions are worse than ever; top American companies exposed
Weekly News Update on the Americas, 22 November 1997. Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and JC Penney exposed in Nicaraguan sweat shop investigation. Base wage is 15 cents per hour; child workers as young as 15 work 13 hour days, seven days a week. Workers allege verbal, physical and sexual abuse by supervisors. Workers live in tin and stick shacks with cardboard walls and dirt floors; housing entire families in a space the size of two cubicles; as many as five people are crammed into one bed.
‘Workers Committees’ Displace Unions
By Roberto Fonseca, IPS, 30 April 1998. The traditional legally recognized FSLN-backed unions in Nicaragua's EPAz, created in 1997 and generally affiliated with the Sandinista Workers Central (CST) in the EPZs have atrophied and lost their negotiating capacity. In their place have arisen workers committees, promoted by a local Maria Elena Cuadra women's movement, now represent around 4,500 women, and emphasizes women's rights, a code of ethics, and non-confrontattional negotiation rather than strikes.
Nicaraguan Maquila Workers Victorious in Union Struggle
Campaign for Labor Rights, Action Alerts, 8 August 1998. Workers in Fortex began their efforts to form a union three years ago, as a response to the injustices and exploitation in their workplace. In a factory with frequent verbal abuse from supervisors, forced overtime, and wages sometimes as low as 95 cents a day, workers realized their only hope was to organize a union and stand up to management. The story of a heroic struggle by a group of women leaders, which bore fruit when on March 20 1998, a contract was signed.
Support fired union leaders in Nicaragua
Labor Alerts, 2 August 1999. Workers at the Taiwanese-owned Chih Hsing factory in Nicaragua's Las Mercedes Free Trade Zone have asked for international support in their struggle to organize a union in the factory. Workers are demanding the reinstatement of fired union officers and recognition of their freedom to organize.
Serious violations of workers' rights in Nicaragua's Export Processing Zones
ICFTU Online..., 27 October 1999. Nicaragua workers in multinational companies in the country's export processing zones (EPZs) are being ill-treated, physically harassed and sexually abused by management. Anyone trying to form unions is likely to be threatened, fired and blacklisted, says the new ICFTU report published today to complement the World Trade Organisation's report on Nicaragua's trade policy.
Union-busting at Jem III
Labor Alerts, 12 January 2000. Nearly the entire union leadership, almost every rank-and-file union member and a number of union sympathizers fired by the Jem III for participating in a strike. There are rumors that management has prepared a blacklist of fired workers for circulation throughout the free trade zone. JEM Sportswear company, based in San Fernando, California, produces clothing for Wal-Mart.
Union-busting in Nicaragua's free trade zone
Labor Alerts: a service of Campaign for Labor Rights, 3 February 2000. The Nicaraguan Labor Ministry, the new management of Nicaragua's free trade zone and some factory managers appear to be engaged in an effort to rid the free trade zone of unions. Since January 17, mass firings at the U.S.-owned Mil Colores jeans factory to bust the union. Mil Colores produces Arizona Jeans (a JC Penney brand), as well as the No Fear and High Sierra brands.
Crisis in Nicaragua
Labour News Network (LNN), 25 April 2000. The factory owners have the support of Nicaragua's Labor Ministry and the free trade zone management in their blatant union-busting. The hundreds of workers fired during the union-busting attack were already hovering at or below the subsistence level and now without a paycheck are in desperate straits as they consider how they will feed their families.
Activists allege Kohl's, others contract with sweatshops
By Carie Antlfinger, Associated Press, 22 August 2000. Workers testify about conditions at the American-owned Mil Colores plant and Tawainese-owned Chentex. They supply Kohl's Department Stores with cheap garments. The women workers are mistreated physically and verbally. Kohl's pleads ignorance; K-Mart says it is investigating. Chentex blacklisting.