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Hanes Signs Contract; Workers Win Big Victory in the Dominican Republic
Workers at the plant, which produces in part for the U.S. collegiate market, organized a union in July 2006. Management began a well-orchestrated anti-union campaign that included the firing of union members, threats, harassment, unpaid wages, and more, according a detailed June 2007 report by the Worker Rights Consortium.
In the fall of 2007, Hanes agreed to abide by an investigation by the Dominican Ministry of Labor, but when the findings came out in favor of the union, Hanes balked, brought in a major U.S.-based anti-union firm, and began taking legal actions against the union rather than respect the basic rights of its workers. International support intensified while the workers maintained their struggle in the face of the continuing anti-union campaign.
Hanes agreed to begin negotiations with the union in the spring of 2008 but after initial meetings, the company was denounced for refusing to bargain in good faith. Pressure continued over the summer until the contract was signed in August. The union is affiliated to FEDOTRAZONAS (the Dominican Federation of Free Trade Zone Workers).
United Students Against Sweatshops, the AFL-CIO's Solidarity Center, the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation, the Washington Office on Latin America, USLEAP and others provided support for the campaign. During the campaign, Hanes joined the Fair Labor Association, which also engaged the company. For more information, see the Worker Rights Consortium report and the Fair Labor Association website.
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