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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

Impression Apparel

In February 2015, the WRC received a complaint from the Federacion Sindical de El Salvador (FESS) stating that, in January 2015, a Salvadoran garment factory known as Impression Apparel illegally fired three union leaders, all of whom were protected under Salvadoran law from dismissal without prior government authorization.

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Petralex

The WRC’s initial investigation at Petralex documented systematic labor rights violations, including retaliatory firings of union leaders, who were protected from dismissal by Honduran law, as well as the firing of other workers who were supporters of the union or family members of union leaders.

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Thai Garment Export 5

Read more: WRC Assessment Thai Garment Export 5 (Thailand) – April 3, 2015

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Gildan Villanueva

The WRC’s investigative work at Gildan Villanueva began after a complaint was filed by several of the factory’s employees stating that they had been fired in May 2013 in retaliation for their efforts to seek assistance from a local, non-governmental organization in order to improve working conditions at the facility. The workers alleged that supervisors openly expressed hostility towards the workers who met with the organization for their participation in protected, concerted activities, and that many of them were subsequently fired as a result of their participation in these efforts.

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Kin Tai Garment

The WRC’s assessment of Kin Tai, initiated in March 2013, identified a number of serious labor rights violations in the areas of: (1) employment contracts, including illegal employment of workers on short-term contracts and as casual labor; (2) wages and benefits, including failure to properly provide legally required bonuses and paid leaves; and (3) occupational health and safety, including failing to provide employees with necessary protective equipment.

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F&D, S.A. de C.V.

In 2009-2010, the WRC was contacted by F&D workers who had recently formed a union affiliated to the SITS, a multi-factory union. The WRC documented serious violations of workers’ freedom of association at the facility. These included coercion, threats, harassment, and bribery of workers to induce them to resign from the SITS union, the formation of a company-sponsored union, and other acts of discrimination against the SITS union and those employees who were its members.

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BKI, S.A.

The WRC’s assessment of BKI identified noncompliance with the Ordinance’s requirements in the following main areas: (1) wages and hours, (2) abuse, and (3) occupational health and safety.

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Yakjin Garment

The WRC report “Crackdown in Cambodia,” dated March 24, 2014, detailed deadly attacks by Cambodian security forces on protesting Cambodian garment workers.

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Yue Yuen (Holdings), Limited

In April 2014, longstanding violations of workers’ rights under local laws and university codes of conduct at Yue Yuen (Holdings) Limited, a top supplier of collegiate licensed athletic footwear, led an estimated 30,000 employees at its factories in southern China to launch a strike that drew international media attention.

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Canteran Apparel

The WRC report “Crackdown in Cambodia,” dated March 24, 2014, detailed deadly attacks by Cambodian security forces on protesting Cambodian garment workers.

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