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by Stephen Miller
Friday, Dec. 09, 2005 at 11:41 AM
What: Join Sweatshop Watch in a festive holiday protest to demand that Levi’s take responsibility for violations of labor rights.
When: Saturday, December 17, 2005; 11am sharp-12noon (meet at 10:30am outside of the store)
Where: CA Levi’s Store on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade
1409 3rd Street Promenade (near Santa Monica Boulevard)
Santa Monica, CA 90401
We Want Jeans with Justice! Tell Levi’s to respect workers’ rights!
Mexican garment workers in Levi’s supplier factory Manufacturas Lajat have been demanding that Levi’s live up to its claims of corporate citizenship.
For over one year, workers have been organizing to address sweatshop conditions such as:
-lack of access to drinking water and clean bathrooms
-exposure to dangerous chemicals.
The workers are trying to form an independent union, but their right to freedom of association has not been respected. Tell Levi’s to follow its own code of conduct and ensure workers have a right to organize!
Come dressed in red, and ready to sing creative anti-sweatshop Christmas carols with the Billionaires for Bush, a group that uses humor and street theater to expose corporate greed (www.billionairesforbush.com).
Please call Karin Mak at Sweatshop Watch, 213-748-5945, for more information. You can download fliers at http://www.sweatshopwatch.org/index.php?s=37.
Sweatshop Watch is supporting this campaign, led by the Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras. For more information on the campaign, go to: www.coalitionforjustice.net
LAJAT/LEVI'S CAMPAIGN BACKGROUND:
- Since January 2005, workers at Manufacturas Lajat, a large jeansmaker, have been fighting for justice. Help stop the repression of workers rights in Mexico by supporting this campaign. Levi’s has been a main client of Lajat for many years. Levi’s should enforce its code of conduct with Lajat.
- While making jeans for Levi’s in the Lajat factory in Gomez Palacio, workers worked in unsafe conditions. Workers regularly used chemicals for stonewashing jeans without any protection. There was not enough drinking water or restrooms, and no lunchroom in the factory. Many workers were forced to work up to 12 hours without overtime pay.
- The spark that ignited worker organizing was when Lajat announced it would close down the factory in Gomez Palacio, and transfer workers to another factory miles away without paying for the transportation. Workers saw this as a move to avoid severance pay, which is mandated under Mexican law. The workers decided to form an independent union to demand better conditions. However, Lajat has taken drastic measures to avoid a union election including visiting workers at their homes at midnight, using the local police to beat and gas workers, locking out workers, blacklisting, and reducing workers’ wages to starvation levels. Levi’s is not doing enough to ensure that Lajat respects workers’ rights to organize.
-The workers are demanding:
o Levi’s live up to its claims of corporate accountability.
o Levi’s and Lajat must ensure that the union election take place under fair conditions.
o Levi’s should make certain Lajat ends the blacklist.
o IF the Gomez Palacio plant is not reopened, then workers must be reinstated at another Lajat factory, with transportation fully paid.
This campaign is led by the Coalition for Justice in the Maquiladoras (www.coalitionforjustice.net), and supported by Sweatshop Watch (www.sweatshopwatch.org). Sweatshop Watch is a California-based coalition working to hold retailers accountable and to support workers rights.
We Want Jeans with Justice!
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