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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

Rainbow Screen Printing

The WRC has conducted emergency assessments at Ocean Sky factories, including Bright Sky, Suntex and Rainbow Screen Printing in Cambodia following violent attacks against prominent union figures. The President of Free Trade Union of Workers of the Kingdom of Cambodia (FTUWKC) was brutally attacked by a group of men with an iron pipe and sticks and has faced additional attacks.

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Grupo M/Codevi

After two years of efforts to remediate major worker rights violations, the Grupo M/Codevi zone has undergone a remarkable transformation. As detailed below, these improvements include cessation of violations of workers’ associational rights, recognition of an independent trade union, and negotiation of a collective bargaining accord — a level of compliance with codes of conduct and international standards on freedom of association that is rarely seen in Haiti.

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Far East Garment Textile

The assessment was initiated in response to multiple complaints made by employees of these facilities, primarily concerning the areas of freedom of association and occupational health and safety.

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First Apparel

The assessment was initiated in response to multiple complaints made by employees of these facilities, primarily concerning the areas of freedom of association and occupational health and safety.

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Easy Group

The WRC’s Assessment of the three Easy Group facilities was carried out in response to complaints from employees alleging serious violations of worker rights. The principal areas of concern identified in the complaints were working hours and compensation, misuse of a contract labor system, and freedom of association and collective bargaining.

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PT Dae Joo Leports

The International Labor Organization (ILO), in a 1998 publication, noted that “hours of work, overtime and wages, occupational health and safety, leave, provision of food and transport, social security and the special needs of women workers,” in addition to inadequate access to health care and restricted associational rights, are problems characteristic of export processing zones. In Indonesia’s export processing zones, and in the KBN’s North Jakarta branches in particular, some of these problems are starkly visible.

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Primo S.A. de C.V.

The present Report focuses exclusively on the most urgent issue at Primo: the allegation that Primo has systematically discriminated in its hiring process against workers perceived to be trade unionists (a practice known as “blacklisting”). It is important to note that this allegation concerns not just Primo, but factories throughout the San Bartolo free trade zone.

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PT Kolon Langgeng

In November 2002, the WRC received a complaint from workers at PT Kolon Langgeng, including allegations that, if valid, would constitute violations of Indonesian law and of college and university codes of conduct primarily in the realm of wages and benefits, forced and uncompensated overtime, and occupational health and safety.

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Tarrant Ajalpan

The WRC investigation found that Tarrant Ajalpan has illegally fired all of the leaders of a lawfully constituted worker movement, which was established to promote better working conditions at the facility and to organize an independent union. Tarrant Ajalpan has further illegally fired at least 150 other workers in a further attempt to prevent factory employees from exercising their associational rights.

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PT Dada

Violations found include punishing sick leave, danger of severe heat stress, requiring homework, and freedom of association violations.

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