Honduras: US firm fires unionists

The US-owned Star, SA factory in El Progreso, Honduras, has fired 70 pro-union workers illegally since Nov. 7, when workers notified the Honduran Ministry of Labor of their intention to form a legal union. Star is located in El Porvenir Free Trade Zone, an industrial park for the tax-exempt assembly plants known as maquiladoras; the factory’s US clients include the Oregon-based Nike, Inc., and the National Football League (NFL) and Anvil Holdings, Inc., which are both based in New York City.

On Nov. 12, after the firings began, some 500 workers blocked the entrance to the El Porvenir Free Trade Zone; Star management called in the National Police and the military, who fired tear gas and assaulted the workers. Hundreds of workers again blocked the entrance the weekend of Nov. 24 and 25, and workers on the weekend shift refused to cross the picketline. The military occupied the entrance gate on Nov. 26. The unionists “are facing increasing intimidation, including surveillance and being followed by undercover police who are armed but dressed in civilian clothing,” according to the New York-based National Labor Committee (NLC), which calls the situation “another CAFTA disaster,” in reference to the US-backed Dominican Republic-
Central America Free Trade Agreement.

The NLC is asking for letters to Nike president Mark G. Parker (fax 503-671-6300), NFL commissioner Roger Goodell (fax 212-681-7599) and Anvil CEO Bernard Geller (fax 212-476-0323, email info@anvilknitwear.com) urging them to intervene with Star to ensure that the workers’ legal rights are respected. (NLC urgent action, Nov. 27)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Dec. 9

See our last posts on Honduras and Central America.