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

Thai Garment Export 5

The WRC’s assessment of Thai Garment Export, which was launched in May 2013, identified violations of Thai law and international labor standards in the following areas: occupational health and safety including excessive heat levels, inadequate sanitary facilities, safe drinking water, excessive noise levels, lighting levels, fire safety; freedom of association; hours of work including involuntary…

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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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JoeAnne Company International Factory (JoeAnne Dominicana)

In 2013, the WRC conducted an investigation of JoeAnne Dominicana in response to a complaint alleging that employees had been dismissed in retaliation for exercising their associational rights. The WRC’s investigation found compelling evidence that at least five workers were terminated in retaliation for participating in a meeting with representatives of a union federation. The WRC also found evidence that at least one worker was dismissed for perceived union activities after being seen conversing regularly with identified union leaders and another worker was fired after stating that she believed workers had been fired for attempting to form a union. These actions violate both university codes of conduct and Dominican law.

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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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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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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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Zongtex Garment Manufacturing

Since initiating an investigation in response to worker complaints, the WRC has documented violations at both Zongtex’s main factory in the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and a second Zongtex-owned factory in Pochentong, Cambodia that appears to operate as a “hidden,” unregistered subcontractor to the main facility. Among other violations of university codes of conduct,…

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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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