Progress Report re Russell Action Plan

To:Primary Contacts, WRC Affiliate Colleges and Universities
From:Scott Nova
Date:February 17, 2010
Re:Progress Report re Russell Action Plan

Click here to view a progress report concerning implementation of the accord reached on November 14, 2009 between Russell/Fruit of the Loom, the Central General de Trabajadores (CGT), and the Sitrajerzeesh (SJT) union, and the remediation agreement concluded on that same date between Russell and the WRC.

As outlined in the report, it is the WRC’s conclusion that very substantial progress has been made toward the implementation of the agreements and that Russell has demonstrated a commitment to fulfill its obligations under the agreements and under applicable codes of conduct. In the areas of most immediate concern to workers and their representatives, progress has been solid.  Russell has:

  1. Opened a new factory, called Jerzees Nuevo Dia (JND), located a short walking distance from the former site of Jerzees de Honduras (JDH) in the town of Choloma, Honduras – more than a hundred former JDH workers have been hired thus far at the facility; hundreds more will be hired shortly.
  2. Recognized Sitrajerzeesh as the representative of JND’s workers and engaged in day-to-day negotiation with the union on labor matters at the factory.
  3. Provided a substantial contribution to a workers’ welfare fund to benefit former JDH workers, which is being administered jointly by the CGT, Solidarity Center, and the WRC.  To date, 1225, or 95% of eligible workers, have each received the equivalent of more than five months of salary through this fund.

There are areas where implementation has proceeded more slowly than had been agreed, and there have been some disputes between the parties. However, the evidence supports the conclusion that these instances do not reflect a lack of commitment to implementation on the part of Russell, but rather the logistical challenges inherent in implementing such sweeping agreements and the challenge of assimilating local and regional management to a new labor-management relationship built on full respect for workers’ associational rights. 

It is essential that Russell continues to implement the agreements in good faith, paying particular attention to those issues where swifter action is needed, and that the company does its part to achieve an equitable and timely resolution to future disputes with the CGT and SJT. 

We are pleased to be able to report that implementation of the accords is proceeding on a positive course. The WRC will continue to monitor the process closely.

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