Repeated Worker Rights Violations at Textiles Opico (El Salvador)

To:WRC Affiliate Universities and Colleges
From:Scott Nova and Jessica Champagne
Date:July 31, 2017
Re:Repeated Worker Rights Violations at Textiles Opico (El Salvador)

Please find here a report from the WRC on violations of workers’ rights by the Textiles Opico factory in El Salvador.

As the report details, the WRC found Textiles Opico to have violated university codes of conduct and other applicable standards with regard to workers’ freedom of association during a layoff of factory workers in January 2017. Specifically, a WRC investigation found that the factory discriminatorily selected union members for dismissal, violated a labor- management agreement intended to ensure that layoffs are conducted in a fair and non-discriminatory manner, and refused union members the right to be represented by their chosen union representatives at the time of their dismissals.

The WRC found that the discriminatory dismissals constituted a serious repeat violation of freedom of association by Textiles Opico. In May 2013, the Fair Labor Association, of which Textiles Opico is a participating supplier, found that the factory had discriminatorily terminated five leaders of the same union. The FLA’s engagement led to the labor- management agreement which the factory violated during these layoffs.

Textiles Opico was disclosed for the production of university licensed goods by Team Beans repeatedly through 2016. Both Team Beans and the factory informed the WRC that there was no longer a relationship between the licensee and the factory, which was consistent with worker testimony. The WRC proceeded to contact other buyers at Textiles Opico including Dick’s Sporting Goods, adidas, Lululemon, REI, Academy Sports, and Castelli.

After sharing the findings and recommendations with both the factory and the buyers, the WRC engaged with all parties to seek redress to the violations. Textiles Opico has agreed to act on a limited number of the WRC’s recommendations, but has refused to reinstate nearly half of the workers subjected to discriminatory termination, which is a crucial element of remediation.

In the past, Textiles Opico has agreed to engage in appropriate remedial measures only after receiving a strong message from its buyers. The WRC is urging the factory’s buyers to press the factory to promptly take all necessary remedial action.

Scott Nova
Executive Director
Worker Rights Consortium

[email protected]