$1 Million Restored to Workers in Haiti


February 6, 2023

Dear Colleagues,
I want to share a bit of good news. As the Guardian reported yesterday, the WRC secured a million dollars from PVH (owner of Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein) to provide back pay to more than a thousand garment workers in Haiti. The workers’ factory closed suddenly last year without paying them severance and pension benefits.

Most workers are receiving the equivalent of more than six months’ wages, with some getting more than a year’s pay. While this factory did not make university logo goods, there are two important connections to collegiate licensing.

First, the injustice suffered by these 1,100 families in Haiti would never have been corrected if not for the example set by university labor standards. By ensuring that licensees make workers whole when collegiate factories close without paying them, universities and the WRC have transformed expectations in the apparel industry. That is why non-collegiate brands like PVH, Gap, and Victoria’s Secret can now be convinced to ensure workers receive the money they have earned.
Second, this case sets a new precedent: it is the first time a brand has directly compensated Haitian workers for unpaid pension benefits. Failure to pay pension and health benefits is a widespread problem in Haiti, affecting collegiate and non-collegiate factories alike. PVH’s action sends a message that buyers cannot ignore this problem—and, indeed, may end up paying for it in the end. This will help encourage all brands sourcing from Haiti, including university licensees, to ensure their suppliers pay pension and health benefits on time and in full.