Stop Exploitation, Abuse, and Deadly Threats Against Union Workers

Target: Helena Helmersson, CEO of H&M Group

Goal: Speak out against suppliers engaged in anti-union discrimination and abuses.

“If you keep working with the union … then next time you’ll die.”  A group of masked men allegedly said these words to an Asian garment factory worker before sending him to the hospital with knife and club wounds. This deeply disturbing incident may represent an extreme case, but workers’ rights advocates claim it is only part of a troubling anti-union trend across the continent. As a result, garment workers in particular face unfair dismissals, abuse, below-poverty wages, and grave threats to their very lives and livelihoods.

Factories all around Asia have seemingly used the coronavirus pandemic to exploit employees and erode their protections even more. An estimated 5,000 workers have lost their jobs in Asian countries strictly because of their union memberships. Factory closures have almost exclusively been reserved for workplaces with strong union activity. In fact, the factory where the attacked worker was employed summarily fired close to 30 union members prior to the alleged assault.

Women workers appear to endure particularly egregious behavior. Allegations include massive cases of overtime for just over a hundred dollars in compensation a month. In addition, routine verbal abuse often turns physical, according to anecdotal reports. Without union protections, these violations will only continue.

Retailers have a major role to play in holding their suppliers to account. Sign the petition below to demand one of the largest enablers of these injustices advocate for the men and women who make their global brand possible.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms. Helmersson,

You will never see or speak to most of the men and women responsible for producing the clothes that make you millions. Each of these individuals has a name, a face, and a story, however. For too many, this story has turned into a tragedy with your assistance. Garment factory workers across Asia are enduring physical mistreatment, verbal abuse, crushing work hours for little pay, and routine firings under the guise of pandemic adjustments.

In reality, the grave “offense” most of these workers have committed is union membership. Thousands have lost their jobs in targeted closures of unionized workplaces. Thousands more face everyday indignities and, sometimes, threats to their lives. As long as companies such as H&R Group continue to look the other way while handing out financial rewards for this inexcusable behavior, it will grow and become a cancer within the industry.

Use your influence and power for the right reasons. End partnerships with suppliers that use and abuse their workforce. Advocate for the right of every human being to enjoy a safe, fair working environment.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Lynn BoBo




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