Central America: abuse continues in US-linked maquilas

Managers at two factories in northern Honduras owned by the US clothing firm Delta Apparel, Inc. are continuing to threaten women employees suffering from work-related injuries, according to a Sept. 22 statement by the Honduran Women’s Collective (CODEMUH). The group, which reported labor abuses at the plants in July, said injured workers had applied to the Labor and Social Security Secretariat (STSS) to have the company reassign them to other work. Management has responded by saying there are no other jobs available and these employees aren’t competent at the work, CODEMUH reported. The two plants are Delta Apparel Honduras and Delta Apparel Cortés, maquiladoras (tax-exempt assembly plants producing for export) in Cortés department. (Adital, Brazil, Sept. 23)

Students in the US are now campaigning against university contracts with Silver Star Merchandising, a Dallas Cowboys affiliate, because of reports of labor abuse at two apparel maquiladoras that the firm has used in El Salvador and one in Indonesia. The US group United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) reported harassment of union supporters at both Salvadoran plants; there were also reports of contaminated drinking water and illegal compulsory overtime at one of these factories. The University of Southern California has already signed a contract with Silver Star for producing college-logo apparel, and Ohio State University is considering a similar contract. News reports didn’t identify the two Salvadoran factories. (New York Times, Sept. 24)

In July 2010 a campaign by USAS at several universities forced the US sportswear giant Nike, Inc to pay $1.54 million to some 1,600 workers laid off by two Nike subcontractors in Honduras.

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Sept. 25.

See our last posts on Honduras, El Salvador and Central America’s sweatshops.