More Updates

Resistance to “electoral coup” continues in Honduras

March in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on December 3 protesting electoral fraud. Photo by Sandra Cuffe

Two weeks after their country’s November 26 national elections, Hondurans continue to mobilize in daily protests against what they are calling an “electoral coup.”

Twenty-four hours after the polls closed, when over 57% of the ballots had been counted, opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla held a five-point lead. Then, a series of anomalies in the vote count occurred, including an alleged computer crash and the suspension of the count for a day and a half, raising suspicions that electoral fraud was being committed.

Murders at Canadian mine expose lack of labour rights in Mexico (November 2017)

Striking workers (Photo: IndustriALL)

The assassination of two brothers, Victor and Marcelino Shaunitla Peña, has shone a spotlight on Mexico’s corrupt and anti-democratic labour relations system. The brothers were participating in a work stoppage by mineworkers with the support of community members against the Canadian-owned Media Luna gold mine in Azcala, Guerrero. The murders happened just as NAFTA negotiations were resuming in Mexico City.

MSN joins call for action on 5th anniversary of Tazreen factory fire (November 2017)

Canadian union delegation to Bangladesh with Kalpona Akter from the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity (BCWS) looking up at the remains of the Tazreen building (2016)

On the 5th anniversary of the Tazreen factory fire, MSN joins with our colleagues in the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) in calling for a bridging solution until Employment Injury Insurance is available to all workers in the Bangladesh garment industry.

Assessing Childcare Needs of Maquila Workers

Over the past year, MSN has been working with coalitions of women’s and trade union organizations in El Salvador and Honduras on the right of working parents in the maquila sector to access quality affordable childcare for.

As part of that effort, MSN has been facilitating dialogue on the issue between the local organizations and international brands that are part of the multi-stakeholder Americas Group and whose products are made in one or both countries.

Mexicans Mobilize to Aid Victims of September 19th Earthquake

Shortly after a devastating earthquake hit Mexico on September 19, MSN received several phone calls and emails from friends and supporters concerned about the safety of members of our staff who were meeting in Mexico City on that day.

We are writing to provide an update on what we experienced, witnessed and learned regarding the impact of the earthquake on people in Mexico City, Morelos and Puebla and the courageous response of thousands of volunteers to this tragedy.

Legal Analysis of the Right to Childcare for Workers in Honduras (June 2017)

Honduras has the most extensive legal framework on childcare for working parents in Central America, setting out the responsibilities of both employers and the state to provide and monitor childcare services for workers.

However, employers in the maquila sector have attempted to use differences in various laws and regulations to argue that employers have no legal responsibility to provide or pay for workplace childcare.

Childcare in Central America: Legal Requirements and International Conventions (February 2016)

This educational resource compares childcare laws and regulations in four garment-producing Central American countries and profiles relevant international conventions on childcare. It was prepared by MSN for Central American women’s, trade union and labour rights organizations, as well as international apparel brands that participate in the Americas Group, a multi-stakeholder forum involving brands and manufacturers, the Global Union IndustriALL, the Fair Labor Association, and MSN.  

Joint letter from 14 clothing brands supporting labour justice reform in Mexico (July 2017)

On July 28, 2017, 14 international clothing brands and the Fair Labor Association (FLA) released a joint letter to the Mexican government declaring their support for a Constitutional Reform to Mexico’s labour justice system that could better protect workers’ right to freedom of association and to bargain collectively.

14 clothing brands release joint letter supporting labour justice reform in Mexico

On July 28, 2017, 14 international clothing brands and the Fair Labor Association (FLA) released a joint letter to the Mexican government declaring their support for a Constitutional Reform to Mexico’s labour justice system that could better protect workers’ right to freedom of association and to bargain collectively.

Briefing Paper: Will Mexico’s labour justice reform remove barriers to workers’ rights? (July 2017)

On July 13, 2017, MSN released a Briefing Paper entitled Labour Justice Reform in Mexico.

Based on MSN’s own research and in-depth interviews with 16 Mexican and international labour rights experts, the paper analyzes the Mexican government’s  February 2017 reform to the country’s Constitution, which promises to provide better protections for the rights of workers to be represented by a union of their free choice and to bargain collectively.

Agreement reached to release imprisoned Bangladeshi union leaders, but crisis not fully resolved

Photo: IndustriALL

On February 23, Bangladeshi unions affiliated with IndustriALL Bangladesh Council reached an agreement with the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Ministry of Labour for the release on bail of the remaining union leaders still imprisoned for their alleged association with a wage strike in December 2016.

Pressure mounts for end to anti-union repression in Bangladesh

The Clean Clothes Campaign and International Labor Rights Forum announced today that because of continuing anti-union repression in Bangladesh, five major apparel brands – H&M, Inditex (Zara), C&A, NEXT and Tchibo – and the UK’s Ethical Trading Initiative have pulled out of the February 25 Dhaka Apparel Summit, which will be hosted by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA).

Brands must intervene to win release of imprisoned labour leaders in Bangladesh

Twenty-two human and labour rights organizations from around the world are calling on international apparel brands to press for the release of unjustly imprisoned Bangladeshi union leaders and worker rights advocates and the reinstatement of 1,500 workers suspended or terminated for taking part in a wage strike.

Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety overstates progress; workers’ lives at risk

More than three and a half years after 1,134 workers died in the Rana Plaza building collapse, major apparel brands and retailers that are members of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, including Walmart, Gap, Target, VF Corporation, and Canada’s Hudson’s Bay Company, are way behind in ensuring that their Bangladesh supplier factories are safe, says a new report from four labour rights organizations.

Scenarios

This workshop uses six scenarios based on real problems that workers and the organizations defending their rights face in factories. The goal is to develop participants’ capacity to decide when and how to engage with clothing brands. To read the scenarios presented to participants, click here:

Exercise One

MSN condemns assassination of Guatemalan union leader (July 2016)

Photo: Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Mujeres Defensoras de Derechos Humanos/Solidarity Center

The Maquila Solidarity Network joins labour, human rights, women’s organizations in Guatemala and internationally in strongly condemning the murder of Guatemalan labour leader Brenda Marleni Estrada Tambito, and calls on the Guatemalan government to launch an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into her assassination, bring those responsible to justice, and take appropriate measures to ensure the safety of members of her family.

Three years after Rana Plaza: What has and hasn’t changed for Bangladeshi garment workers?

Photo: Pieter Van de Boogert

April 24, 2016 was the third anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse, in which over 1,100 workers were killed and approximately 2,500 injured in the worst industrial disaster in the history of the garment industry.

Three years later, what has changed for the injured workers and the families of those who died, and for the young women and men who continue to work in the industry?

Compensation

Bangladeshi factories remain unsafe: H&M suppliers fail on deadlines to address safety hazards

As Swedish fashion giant H&M prepares to announce a predicted increase in their profits for 2015, labour rights groups are calling on the company to do more to protect garment workers in Bangladesh, after a review of H&M’s strategic suppliers shows that severe delays in carrying out urgent and vital building repairs continue to leave tens of thousands of workers at risk of death and injury.

Assassination of Honduran indigenous rights and environmental activist, Berta Cáceres, sparks global outrage (April 2016)

Photo: of Berta beside the Gualcarque River (Goldman Environmental Prize)

MSN joins with a growing number of organizations and institutions throughout the Americas and around the world in condemning the assassination of internationally recognized Honduran human and indigenous rights defender and environmental activist, Berta Cáceres. We express our deeply felt condolences to the members of her family and community and we affirm our support for their continuing struggle.

35 organizations demand that Lexmark reinstate fired union organizers

Photo: ©2016 Keith Dannemiller

Thirty-five organizations based in the US, Canada, Europe and Mexico have signed an Open Letter urging US-based print cartridge manufacturer, Lexmark, to reinstate workers fired for protesting unjust working conditions and attempting to organize an independent union at a Lexmark owned and operated factory in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Another Bangladesh factory fire reinforces desperate need to speed up safety repairs

Graphic: Clean Clothes Campaign

A fire at another Bangladesh factory producing clothes for H&M, JC Penney and other brands has reinforced serious concerns raised by MSN and other witness signatories to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety about long delays in required safety renovations at factories producing for US and European brands.

Comparison of Mexico's federal labour law, ILO standards, and FLA code and benchmarks (January 2015)

This document, prepared by MSN for the Mexico Committee of the Americas group, was designed primarily as a tool for companies sourcing apparel products from Mexico to better understand the labour standards obligations of their Mexican suppliers and the rights of workers in their supplier factories. It should also serve as a useful reference document for trade union and labour rights organizations advocating on behalf of Mexican workers.

Eight brands release joint letter to Mexican government supporting freedom of association

On September 22, eight international apparel brands released a joint letter to the Mexican government expressing their support for the International Labour Organization’s (ILO’s) request that Mexico make further reforms to its Federal Labour Law to ensure respect for workers’ right to freedom of association and to bargain collectively.

Signatories to the joint letter include: adidas Group, American Eagle Outfitters, New Balance, Nike, Patagonia, Puma, PVH, and The Walt Disney Company.

MSN's Freedom of Association in Mexico Tool Kit (2014)

The right of workers to freely associate and the right to bargain collectively on the terms and conditions of their employment are fundamental human rights enshrined in International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions and United Nations (UN) declaractions. These fundamental principles are reflected in the codes of conduct of most leading apparel brands.

What Should Brands Do?