Update on Russell Athletic/Fruit of the Loom in Honduras
May 21, 2014
Please find here a memo regarding important progress with regards to workers’ rights in Honduras at Jerzees Buena Vista. Jerzees Buena Vista produces collegiate licensed apparel for Russell Athletic, a subsidiary of Fruit of the Loom.
Jerzees Buena Vista management and the union representing workers at the factory, SitrajerzeesBV, have negotiated a collective bargaining agreement that has brought significant new benefits to workers. Workers now receive higher production bonuses, a free meal at lunchtime, and additional vacation days, among other benefits for them and their families. The signing of this collective bargaining agreement reflects Russell/FOTL’s commitment to respect for workers’ freedom of association in Honduras, as memorialized in the agreement signed between Russell/FOTL and the Central General de Trabajadores (CGT) union federation on November 14, 2009.
This memo also details productive engagement between Russell/FOTL and SitraVFI, the union representing workers at VFI, another Russell/FOTL-owned plant in Honduras. After Russell/FOTL informed the union that they would be converting the plant to a distribution center, resulting in significant layoffs, the two negotiated an agreement that grants significant benefits to workers above those required by Honduran law. All laid-off VFI workers will receive one year of health benefits, additional severance payments worth up to six months of salary, and a preference in hiring at other Russell/FOTL plants in the area.
Both of these agreements reflect the maturation of labor relations at Russell/FOTL’s facilities in Honduras that has been achieved as a result of the 2009 agreement between Russell/FOTL and the CGT. They are a credit to Russell/FOTL, the factory-level unions, and the CGT union federation.
Worker Rights Consortium
5 Thomas Circle NW, 5th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
ph 202 387 4884
fax 202 387 3292