WRC Factory Investigation

Chong Won Fashion, Inc. (C. Woo Inc.)

Factory: Chong Won Fashion, Inc. (C. Woo Inc.)

Key Buyers: Oarsman Sportswear, Walmart

Last Updated: 2007

Case Summary

In response to a worker complaint, the WRC launched an investigation into alleged labor rights violations at Chong Won in late October 2006. The investigation found serious and ongoing labor rights violations at Chong Won, including minimum wage violations, forced overtime, violations of workers’ right to unionize and bargain collectively, and, of particular concern, collusion by factory management with government agents in violence against workers engaged in a lawful and peaceful strike.

With respect to freedom of association, Chong Won’s misdeeds were among the most egregious and persistent that the WRC has ever encountered. Both Chong Won management and Wal-Mart failed to take adequate steps to remediate the violations. As of late March 2007, the factory has been closed. Striking workers continued to maintain a picket line until they were reportedly forcibly removed by unidentified armed men in June 2007. The WRC report on Chong Won also includes an examination of the broader issue of political violence in the Philippines and its implications for efforts to protect worker rights.

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In the report, the WRC recommended that all university licensees sourcing from the Philippines communicate with the Philippine government to express concern about the violence, in light of the severe impact it has on the ability of workers in collegiate apparel factories to exercise their rights. In May of 2007, a number of licensees signed a joint letter to Philippine President Gloria Arroyo, calling on the government to take measures to protect labor rights advocates. This followed a November, 2006 letter from a number of prominent North American apparel companies, written at the urging of the Maquila Solidarity Network. The following are links to these and related letters:

Related Links:

The following links provide additional, related information from other organizations on the Chong Won case. Please note that the WRC has not endorsed these pages and cannot vouch for their accuracy.