Skip to content

Right to Organize and Bargain

Photograph of workers protestingA worker’s right to organize and bargain collectively is protected in international covenants, from the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights to ILO conventions, and is protected by national laws in most countries. Yet workers around the world still routinely face threats, dismissal from their jobs, and even outright violence when they seek to join or form a union.

The presence of an independent union in a workplace can help enable workers to identify and raise concerns regarding health and safety hazards, wage-and-hour violations, or provision of health and retirement benefits. When employers are allowed retaliate against workers who speak out, this deters workers from pressing their employers to correct other violations, or from speaking openly to labor rights monitors such as the WRC about conditions in their workplaces.

Together with our allies, the WRC has helped more than 1,500 workers win reinstatement after they were illegally fired and, in some cases, violently attacked for exercising right to organize and bargain collectively.

Related Factory Investigations

Konffetty S.A. de C.V.

The WRC uncovered extensive wage theft and related violations of university labor codes at Konffetty S.A. de C.V., a garment producer in El Salvador that is the sole disclosed supplier to university licensee Vive La Fete.


Delta Apparel Honduras

The WRC investigated a complaint filed by workers at Delta Apparel Honduras (DAH), and found that the practices of DAH violated Honduran law and university codes of conduct in the areas of wages and hours of work, legally mandated benefits, health care, harassment and abuse, gender discrimination, freedom of association, and occupational health and safety.


Horizon Outdoor

As detailed in this new report, the WRC, working in collaboration with VF, successfully reversed an attempt by Horizon Outdoor management to retaliatorily discharge more than 50 of the facility’s employees.


Shahi Exports Pvt. Ltd.

An investigation by the WRC found that the management of Shahi Exports Pvt. Ltd.’s (Shahi) Unit 8 factory (Bangalore, India) carried out a campaign of vicious repression and retaliation against workers’ exercise of fundamental labor rights.


Hansae Vietnam

The Hansae Vietnam factory has been the subject of in-depth investigation and reporting concerning labor rights issues and engagement with Nike and Hansae on their remediation, by both the WRC and the FLA, for the past two years.


Textiles Opico

The WRC investigated a complaint filed by workers at Textiles Opico and found that the factory had 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.


Jerzees Buena Vista

In October 2015, Fruit of the Loom announced to workers that it would be closing Jerzees Buena Vista and consolidating its operation and workforce into a second facility owned by the company, Manufacturas Villanueva. The company negotiated with the union the terms of the consolidation and, in early 2016, workers at Jerzees Buena Vista terminated their employment with the factory and, if they so desired, were hired at Manufacturas Villanueva.


Manufacturas Villanueva

During this closure, workers’ voices were heard and their rights were respected. Russell/FOTL and the Honduran unions negotiated a resolution that ensured that workers were transferred on fair terms, including benefits above those required by law, and that these terms were clearly communicated to workers. This is a tribute to the framework established by the 2009 agreement and the relationship formed over the past seven years of negotiations.


Style Avenue S.A.

Style Avenue was found to have multiple and repeated labor rights violations, including forced overtime, illegal terminations, verbal abuse by management, failure to respect freedom of association, locking workers in the factory, excessive heat, and unsanitary conditions.


I-Cheng (Cambodia) Co., Ltd.

The WRC’s assessment of I-Cheng found violations in the areas of: (1) wages and hours, including payment of a probationary wage that is below the legal minimum, and unlawful involuntary overtime; (2) gender discrimination, including an explicit policy of hiring men on contracts of shorter duration than those under which the company hires women; (3) freedom of association, including the establishment of and compelling membership in a company-controlled labor union, unlawful unauthorized deductions of union dues from workers’ wages, and the illegal retaliatory termination, in May 2014, of 243 employees who were members of an independent union; (4) statutory paid sick leave, including failure to pay such legally-required benefits to employees; and (5) occupational health and safety, including heat levels so excessive that they regularly cause employees to faint on the job.