Russell’s Remediation Claims


Dear Colleagues,

Please see the attached letter, sent today to Russell Corporation by the WRC, asking Russell to provide concrete information to substantiate the company’s continued claim that it provided a program of paid leave for the Jerzees de Honduras (JDH) workforce so that workers could search for alternative employment.

On Thursday of last week, the WRC reported to universities on a survey we conducted inHonduras, in which we sought to test this oft-repeated claim. One hundred and forty-one former employees of the factory, all members of the union, were surveyed. All 141 stated that they never received any such offer of leave.

Russell sent a response to universities on April 3, in which the company:

1)   downplayed the significance of this ostensible program of paid leave, stating that it was not a “central element” of Russell’s remediation plan;

2)   hedged its prior claims about the program by acknowledging, for the first time, that “many” workers did not actually participate (and attempting to blame this on the union);

3)   nonetheless insisted that this program of paid leave for the factory’s 1,800 workers did exist. To support this claim, Russell provided a form showing that one employee was granted paid leave for a job interview in November.

The worker surveys reported by the WRC constitute highly persuasive evidence that a program of paid leave, available generally to workers and carried out in a non-discriminatory fashion, did not exist. Yet Russell continues to claim otherwise. In an effort to settle this issue, we have written to Russell to request a number of pieces of information about this alleged program, including the steps taken to communicate the offer to workers, the number of workers who participated, and whether Russell is prepared to provide documentation for each worker whose participation it claims. If the program existed, Russell will have no difficulty providing credible answers to these questions and doing so in a timely fashion.

To ensure that there is no confusion, we have also asked the company to state clearly whether it did or did not offer paid leave to the broad JDH workforce to assist workers in their search for alternative employment – as the company told universities in multiple communications. We want to make sure that Russell, in continuing to insist that paid leave was offered, is not talking about a narrow benefit offered only to managers and supervisors (or to just a few favored production workers).

We will let you know as soon as we receive Russell’s response. In the meantime, please feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss this information.



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

Attachment: Letter to Russell 4-7-09