Irresponsible Posting on Russell Website


Dear Colleagues, 

I was very disturbed to view yesterday an irresponsible posting by Russell Corporation on a website the company has created to defend its labor practices in Honduras. Russell has featured on its site a Honduran news article which contains statements vilifying two leaders of the union at Jerzees de Honduras. As you know, these workers are already the subject of violent threats.

The article, which is based on a press release from an anti-union Honduran business leader, Luis Larach, is a defense of Russell’s decision to close the factory and an attack on the union leaders. Larach accuses the two leaders, Moises Montoya and Norma Mejia, of being tools of US unions in an effort to rob Honduras of investment and jobs and discredit the country.

In the article posted by Russell, Larach states:

“I consider that the claims of Moises Montoya and Norma Mejia against the company are financed by union groups in the United States, which give money to some Honduran leaders to discredit the country. This type of actions are financed by American union members utilizing Honduran hot heads to affect our employees and scare away the investment from Honduras so it returns to the United States.”

This kind of rhetoric is very dangerous. The attack Russell has chosen to promote is that Moises Montoya and Norma Mejia are betraying their country and acting as paid agents of foreign parties to steal jobs and investment from Hondurans. Aside from being completely false and scurrilous, this is exactly the kind of vilification that makes people a target for violence in this region of the world.

We are dealing with a country in which trade union leaders were assassinated as recently as last year. As Russell is well aware, Moises Montoya and Norma Mejia have already received death threats. If Russell is unwilling to help secure protection for these threatened workers – and Russell has provided no response to multiple requests for assistance – the company should at least refrain from promoting efforts to demonize them. Amidst the present tensions, publicizing, and, thus, lending credence to Larach’s attack on these workers is grossly irresponsible. I do not understand what Russell is thinking.

Moises and Norma have already expressed concern to the WRC about how circulation of the article may impact their safety. We are writing to Russell today to ask the company to immediately remove this article from its website. Surely Russell can find material to post in defense of its position that does not include false and irresponsible attacks on the leaders of the union. We are also asking Russell to refrain from any future actions that may further endanger the safety of these workers.

I will let you know of any further developments on this issue. Please contact us if you have thoughts or questions.

Here are links to the Russell web posting and to the petition submitted by the WRC and eight other organizations to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights seeking security protection for the union leaders:

Article posted by Russell
Petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights



Scott Nova
Worker Rights Consortium
5 Thomas Circle NW
Washington DC 20005
ph 202 387 4884
fax 202 387 3292
[email protected]