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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

Centro Textil (Centex)

The WRC found compelling evidence that Centex violated Nicaraguan law, international labor standards, and university codes of conduct by engaging in the following acts: (1) terminating 15 workers in retaliation for forming a union, (2) threatening the remaining workers to dissuade them from exercising their associational rights, and (3) attempting to induce workers, including via offers of financial inducements, to forgo their right to reinstatement.

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Confecciones Gama

The WRC received a complaint with regards to the failure of the Confecciones Gama plant, located in El Salvador, to pay workers the full amount of their legally-required terminal benefits, which were owed to them at the time that the factory shut down its sewing operation in June 2011.

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Tecnotex

On February 21, 2013, workers wrote to SAE-A, buyers and the WRC alleging a series of violations, including the termination of 16 workers (nine at EINS and seven at Tecnotex) in retaliation for workers’ lawful exercise of their associational rights.

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Alamode, S.A.

The WRC found continued non-compliance with the City of San Francisco’s Ordinance in the areas of payment of legally-mandated health care benefits, payment of wages, hours of work, legally-mandated terminal benefits, gender discrimination, harassment and abuse, occupational health and safety and freedom of association.

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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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Arneses y Accesorios de Mexico (PKC Group)

The WRC’s inquiry found, on the basis of overwhelming evidence, that, since August 2011, PKC management at Arneses y Accesorios has carried out a series of actions that have violated international labor standards by denying workers the opportunity to exercise their right to freely join a union in order to bargain collectively with their employer.

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Palermo Villa, Inc.

The WRC launched this inquiry in response to a complaint by a group of Palermo workers alleging that, in early June 2012, the company carried out a mass dismissal of employees, as well as other labor rights violations, in retaliation for the workers’ effort to organize a union at the company’s primary manufacturing facility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

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Industrias Sinteticas (INSINCA)

The WRC’s assessment at INSINCA found violations in the areas of wages and hours, statutory paid leave, freedom of association and occupational health and safety.

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E Garment

The WRC found serious and ongoing violations by E Garment’s management of its workers’ associational rights, that the factory, VF and E Garment’s other buyers — despite extensive attempts at engagement by the WRC — have repeatedly failed to remedy.

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EINS

On February 21, 2013, workers wrote to SAE-A, buyers and the WRC alleging a series of violations, including the termination of 16 workers (nine at EINS and seven at Tecnotex) in retaliation for workers’ lawful exercise of their associational rights.

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