Russell and Union Sign Collective Bargaining Agreement
I am pleased to be able to share with you some very positive news concerning implementation of the agreements with Russell Athletic.
Last night, at a meeting in Los Angeles, the union from Russell’s Jerzees Nuevo Dia factory signed a collective bargaining agreement with the company. This contract is the culmination of a year of negotiations. We will provide a detailed review of the contract terms next week, but key elements include a 19.5% wage increase, effective immediately, with an additional 7% increase in January; the expansion of Jerzees Nuevo Dia to add an additional 250 workers; free transportation and lunches (things for which workers currently pay); and a significant investment in new machinery, which will enable workers to improve production and therefore further increase their wages. This contract is unprecedented in Honduras’ export apparel sector.
These successful negotiations constitute full implementation of two critical components of the accord Russell signed with the union and of the company’s remediation agreement with the WRC: 1) the obligation of Russell to bargain in good faith with the Jerzees Nuevo Dia workforce, and 2) the obligation to rehire, over time, all of the former employees of Jerzees de Honduras. There are roughly 200 of these workers, out of the initial group of 1200+, who have not yet been hired; under the new contract, all of these workers will be offered jobs at Jerzees Nuevo Dia.
We congratulate the SitrajerzeesND union; its parent federation, the CGT; and Russell/Fruit of the Loom on achieving a contract that sets a new standard for labor-management relations in Honduras’ apparel industry.
We will provide more information to you next week.