Striking Haitian garment workers attacked by riot police, make appeals for solidarity

Low-paid garment workers in Haiti have launched a strike movement calling for increased wages. In response, the bosses have called in riot police, who’ve tried to break the workers’ resistance with tear gas and rubber bullets.

The Haitian workers’ movement Batay Ouvriye suggest a few ways that people can help:

1. Email factory owners, government & regulatory agencies to let them know you stand with Haitian garment workers.

Let’s flood the email inboxes of the following:

Alain Villard – Owner of Palm Apparel and SISA
Jean-Paul Faubert – Vice President of Palm Apparel
Charles Henri Baker – Owner of One World Apparel & politician
Jay Jihoon Kim – H&H Textiles
George Sassine – President of ADIH & owner of AG Textiles, SA
Camille Chalmers – Director of the Haitian Platform for an Alternative Development, or PAPDA
Claudine Francois – Country Program Manager, Better Work Haiti
Textile Sector Mediation Bureau

Copy and paste the below email, or write your own, and send it to these contacts.

Please be sure to copy Batay Ouvriye on the email.

Email Contacts:

Jay@yjapp.com; alain.villard@palmapparel.com; mapaid@agacorp.com; jpfaubert@palmapparelgroup.com; chbaker@pbapparel.com; gsassine@gbgroup.com; chalmerscamille6@gmail.com; bureaumediationsecteurtextile@gmail.com;
francois@betterwork.org

cc: batayouvriye@hotmail.com

Subject: STOP ATTACKING GARMENT WORKERS

To Whom it May Concern:

I am emailing in support of Haitian garment workers in Port Au Prince, Carrefour, Ounaminthe and Caracol.

I am outraged by the use of brutal and deadly force against workers!

I stand with the workers who are bravely striking and demonstrating for their rights.

Factory owners and the brands they produce for make millions, sometimes billions of dollars in profit by exploiting these workers. They are within their rights to organize and demand decent pay to house, feed, clothe and educate themselves.

I insist on the following:

  1. Pay workers 800 Gourdes minimum wage & provide social services.
  2. Respect workers’ right to organize.
  3. Stop the repression against workers!

In solidarity with Haitian garment workers,

Your Name
City, State, or Country

#RRNsolidarity
#RightToOrganize
#800Gourds

2. Make a financial contribution to support this fight. Your contributions help pay for printing leaflets, gas for organizers to travel between factories, strike funds to help feed workers when they are not working, and more.

Your contribution of $50, or any amount, will help workers continue their fight.

3.  Spread the word on social media & follow the RRN.

Twitter:  @RRNsolidarity

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/RapidResponseNetwork/

Newsletter/updates sign up:  http://goo.gl/Me35SH

They also have a longer contact list for various organisations and individuals connected to the situation:

The Association of Industries of Haiti (ADIH)

ADIH is the main organization of the manufacturing sector in Haiti. Its mission is to promote and develop Haiti’s industrial sectors on a worldwide competitive basis. It’s comprised of several factory owners who work with the Haitian and US states to ensure low wages and to break up union activity, so that the Haitian garment assembly industry remains “competitive” on the global marketplace. They represent the interests of factory owners to maintain the exploitation of garment workers.

From the start of this strike, ADIH spread misinformation to the press, saying that workers were acting violently, attacking factories and workers. Yet, it is the factory owners who exercise brutal violence every day by refusing to pay workers a living wage. They keep workers in debt, poverty and on the brink of hunger and homelessness. When workers organize for their rights, it is the factory owners who command the police to attack workers with tear gas, rubber bullets… to literally beat the life out of them.

ADIH Contact info:

Phone/Whats App: +509 37 22 95 66
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ADIH-Association-Des-Industries-dHaiti-418702228229983/
Twitter – @ADIHNewshttps://twitter.com/ADIHNews?lang=en

George Sassine – president of ADIH & owner of AG Textiles, SA

Email: gsassine@gbgroup.com
Linked In: https://www.linkedin.com/in/georges-sassine-3881a46


Alain Villard – Owner of Sewing International, SA (SISA) & Palm Apparel, SA
Once told workers at Palm Apparel that his dogs were more important than the workers in his factories.

Email: Alain.villard@palmapparel.com
Whats App: +509 3736 5000


Jean Paul Faubert – Vice President of Palm Apparel, SA

Email: jpfaubert@palmapparelgroup.com
Phone/Whats App: +509 3701 2002

Apaid Family – Owners of AGA Corporation/Premium Apparel, SA

Michel Apaid email: mapaid@agacorp.com
Michel Apaid – https://www.linkedin.com/in/michel-apaid-153b4145
Clifford Apaid – https://www.linkedin.com/in/clifford-apaid-47231213
AGA Corp address: 7209 NW 41 ST, Miami, FL 33166
AGA Phone: 305.592.1860

Charles Baker – Owner of One World Apparel & politician

Email: chbaker@pbapparel.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/respecharlito/
Twitter – @CharlesHBaker – https://twitter.com/charleshbaker?lang=en

Jay Jihoon Kim – General Director of H&H Textiles

Email: Jay@yjapp.com

Finally, here’s a chronology of the strike so far:

The strike and mobilizations have spread country-wide, thanks to the efforts of PLASIT-BO, a federation of textile trade unions affiliated with Batay Ouvriye (Workers Fight), an independent workers movement. (Click here for more info on these organizations).

The striking workers have three core demands:

  1. A minimum wage adjustment to 350 to 800 Gourdes daily (from $5.50 to $12.60 per day), on top of meal, transportation and housing subsidies
  2. Workers are demanding Social Services.
  3. They demand that production quotas do not increase with the increased minimum wage.

Friday 5/19 and Saturday 5/20, thousands of workers shut down dozens of textile factories in Port Au Prince, marching in the streets and blocking the road to Toussaint Louverture International Airport.

Haitian garment workers receive the lowest wage in the eastern hemisphere. Production quotas are often set impossibly high. Factory owners and management do not respect the law, and often do not pay the existing minimum wage. Union members and organizers are constantly harassed and arbitrarily fired for exercising their legal rights.

Despite the fact that nearly 4,000 workers chose to strike on Friday and Saturday, Haitian factory owners with the Association of Haitian Industries (ADIH) falsely claimed that lone “militants and syndicalists” pressured and actually beat workers, forcing them to join the strike and marches. These false allegations are meant to detract from the every day exploitation, repression and anti-union activity that factory owners and management exercise against workers to increase their profits.

Click here for info, photos & video from Friday and Saturday’s mobilizations.

Monday, 5/22/17, the strike continued and grew with garment workers blocking several roads in the capital, Port Au Prince, including the road to the airport.

Port Au Prince – Strike for 800 Gourdes continues.

Workers in other parts of the country also joined the strike. SOKOWA union members at CODEVI Free Trade Zone in Ounaminthe, Haiti leaving their work and taking the streets. Ounaminthe is in the northeast part of Haiti, on the border of the Dominican Republic.

Ounaminthe, Haiti – workers in CODEVI Free Trade Zone leave work & take the street.

In the southern part of the country, in Carrefour, workers and members of SOTA-BO textile union also walked out of their factory jobs to join the strike and to demand 800 Gourdes.

Factory owners and the state responded with repression firing more tear gas and rubber bullets at workers fighting for their rights.

Port Au Prince – a striking worker received a rubber bullet to the neck.

Tuesday, 5/23/17, workers returned to work today, but many in Port Au Prince and Carrefour engaged in a work stoppage, meaning they sat at their stations, but did not work.

Some workers at the following factories engaged in the stoppage:

  • Sewing International, SA (SISA)
  • Pacific Sport
  • Go Ayiti
  • H&H Textiles
  • Palm Apparel

At 12pm today, Tuesday, 5/23/17, the RRN received reports from SOTA-BO that the Haitian National Police & CIMO riot police entered factories number 50, 52, and 53 in the Sonapi Industrial Park in Port Au Prince and “severely repressed the workers.”

We are unsure of the actual names of these factories.

At 1:54pm, we received this photo of a woman worker in factory number 52 who was beaten by the CIMO police force. At this moment, she is reported to be lifeless.


Many workers have fled the SONAPI Industrial Park and have taken refuge at the Batay Ouvriye workers center and at a nearby radio station.

At 2:50pm, 5/23/17, RRN received a report that the national police were also brutalizing workers in Carrefour, Haiti. This is just south of Port Au Prince.

IT IS TIME FOR SOLIDARITY. WE CANNOT SIT IDLY WHILE WORKERS ARE BEATEN TO DEATH FOR THE PROFITS OF FACTORY OWNERS AND THE BRANDS THEY PRODUCE FOR.

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About nothingiseverlost

"The impulse to fight against work and management is immediately collective. As we fight against the conditions of our own lives, we see that other people are doing the same. To get anywhere we have to fight side by side. We begin to break down the divisions between us and prejudices, hierarchies, and nationalisms begin to be undermined. As we build trust and solidarity, we grow more daring and combative. More becomes possible. We get more organized, more confident, more disruptive and more powerful."
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