Fighting sweatshops and building an economy based on good jobs .
Saturday, April 4, 2009
4:00pm – 6:00pm
Southern Oregon University
Stevenson Union – Rogue River Room
Hear from international garment workers and ethical U.S. businesses, and take action for positive change in 2009.
We are calling on our State and our City to end tax dollar support for sweatshops and to help build an economy based on good jobs.
This tour ties into the campaign by offering a unique educational opportunity for Ashland City counselors, the mayor, city staff, SOU students/staff/professors and for the Southern Oregon public in general…
This year, our elected officials will spend billions of our tax dollars on uniforms and other clothing for public employees like police officers and firefighters. Unfortunately, most of this gear is made in sweatshops by workers forced to work long hours for poverty wages in inhumane and abusive conditions.
With the global economy reeling, now more than ever our tax dollars should–and can–support higher standards that level the playing field for U.S. workers and support worker organizing around the world.
Speakers will include:
Erlinda Elizabeth Gutierrez Reyes worked 15 years in the Honduran garment industry before becoming an organizer and educator for garment workers through FESITRADEH, a Honduran labor federation. Elizabeth is also a nurse. She has extensive knowledge of Dickies de Honduras, a factory in Choloma, Honduras that makes uniforms for the popular Dickies brand. Dickies supplies many U.S. cities and states with work pants, but behind the label is a history of repression of human rights and labor rights. Dickies garment workers from Pakistan to Mexico to Honduras report poverty wages, forced and uncompensated overtime, and blacklisting.
Rafael Irizarry has worked for five years as a machine operator at Propper International’s Las Marias plant in Puerto Rico. Propper is a major producer of military and law enforcement apparel that supplies San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington State, among others. He is a lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against Propper for damages of $225,000 related to unpaid work, alleging that the company did not grant legally required paid sick days and vacation days. Workers in the lawsuit also claim that Propper reduces employees’ agreed-upon hourly wages when workers’ production falls short of quota.