Globalization and Cross-Border Labor Solidarity in the Americas: The Anti-Sweatshop Movement and the Struggle for Social Justice

Globalization and Cross-Border Labor Solidarity in the Americas: The Anti-Sweatshop Movement and the Struggle for Social Justice

Globalization and Cross-Border Labor Solidarity in the Americas: The Anti-Sweatshop Movement and the Struggle for Social Justice

Globalization and Cross-Border Labor Solidarity in the Americas: The Anti-Sweatshop Movement and the Struggle for Social Justice

Synopsis

This book describes how workers, unions and NGOs from four Central American countries--Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua--fought back and struggled for social justice alongside US-based unions and NGOs.

Excerpt

Cross-border labor solidarity campaigns often involve spontaneous and clandestine activity. I learned that fact first-hand while doing research on the Phillips Van-Heusen (PVH) campaign in Guatemala City. After organizing discreetly for more than a year, PVH workers handed Yvonne de Sevilla, the company's legal representative, a petition on September 2, 1996, stating that they had reestablished a viable, functioning union and were now requesting the initiation of contract negotiations. This action surprised Sevilla. She, like most other company supervisors, assumed that the workers were relatively happy and that the “old” union had fallen apart. Upon re-gaining her composure, Sevilla grabbed the document and promptly ripped it up.

This incident sparked a three-week long deadlock. During that time period, the PVH workers' union and U.S.-based non-government organizations like the United States/Guatemala Labor Education Project (U.S./GLEP) maintained pressure on the company in Guatemala and the United States. Some workers, for instance, wore union t-shirts and chanted slogans (“What do we want? A contract. When do we want it? Now!”) inside the factory, while U.S. activists distributed leaflets outside shopping malls condemning PVH's anti-union stance.

These activities were designed to bring the company to the negotiating table, but it stubbornly refused. In fact, PVH initially staked out a highly combative, even militaristic, position, hiring armed security guards to monitor the union's

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.