JoeAnne Dominicana (Dominican Republic)

To:WRC Affiliate Universities and Colleges
From:Scott Nova and Sarah Adler-Milstein
Date:May 31, 2013
Re:JoeAnne Dominicana (Dominican Republic)

Please find here a report regarding retaliatory dismissals at the JoeAnne Dominicana factory, located in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Franklin Sports discloses JoeAnne Dominicana as a producer of collegiate licensed apparel. In addition, the plant produces apparel for adidas and Fruit of the Loom. The attached report details the WRC’s findings and recommendations for remedial action, as well as the status of communications with the relevant brands producing in the factory.    

The WRC conducted an investigation of JoeAnne Dominicana in response to a complaint alleging that employees had been dismissed in retaliation for exercising their associational rights. The WRC’s investigation found compelling evidence that at least five workers were terminated in retaliation for participating in a meeting with representatives of a union federation. The WRC also found evidence that at least one worker was dismissed for perceived union activities after being seen conversing regularly with identified union leaders and another worker was fired after stating that she believed workers had been fired for attempting to form a union. These actions violate both university codes of conduct and Dominican law. 

On March 1, the WRC requested that JoeAnne Dominicana provide evidence regarding these allegations. On March 7, JoeAnne Dominicana’s legal counsel responded that JoeAnne Dominicana would carry out its own investigation and then subsequently take whatever action it considered appropriate, but failed to provide the information requested or any other exculpatory evidence. On April 1, the WRC communicated to the brands producing at JoeAnne that, given the compelling evidence that JoeAnne Dominicana employees were dismissed in retaliation for exercising their associational rights, and given JoeAnne Dominicana’s failure to provide any evidence to the contrary, immediate remedial action was necessary to prevent any further infringement of workers’ associational rights.

To date, Franklin Sports has failed to respond to the WRC’s findings and recommendations. Adidas and Fruit of the Loom stated that they were waiting for recommendations from the FLA in order to take action. The WRC understands that the FLA recently completed its own investigation; however, so far, no corrective action has been announced by these companies. Some workers have already been off the job for almost four months. Any further delays will exacerbate the already severe chilling effect on workers’ associational rights. The WRC continues to urge Franklin, the licensee producing collegiate goods at the factory, as well as adidas and Fruit of the Loom, to ensure that JoeAnne takes the necessary remedial action immediately, including reinstating the workers who have been wrongfully terminated and instituting new protocols to ensure protection of freedom of association.We will update universities as to whether licensees and the factory take action necessary to protect workers’ rights moving forward. As always, please contact us with any questions or thoughts regarding this memorandum.