Call to Action of US Brands - Haiti Garment Workers
Image credit: Garment employees are seen working in the sewing section of a clothing plant in Haiti / credit: Marcel Crozet / International Labor Organization
Members of the National Black Caucus Green Party US and endorsed candidates are calling to action the following identified United States based brand named merchandise retailers, to put pressure on those who can make change in increasing the wages for the protesting Haitian workers at the National Society of Industrial Parks (SONAPI):
- Hanes Brand;
- Fruit of the Loom; -American Eagle;
- Levi Strauss; -Old Navy;
- Banana Republic; -Athleta;
- JCPenney; -Van Heusen (Desertcart Haiti).
The current average salary of a garment worker in Haiti is 685 gourdes (approximately $6.50 US dollars) for a twelve hour work day; enough to barely feed one person. The workers at SONAPI are demanding at least $15.oo per day to support their families.
Issue Root Cause:
After the 2010 devastating earthquake, business entities outside of Haitian leadership decided to locate a new garment center, away from the earthquake's epicenter, in the island's north-east district. In this effort, Haitian farmers were disposed of valuable fertile land. More than twelve years later, hundreds of farmers and their families have not been paid for the seizure of their land. In essence, the garment center replaced their livelihoods.
See video made by ActionAid USA, “Building Back Better? The Caracol Industrial Park and post earthquake aid to Haiti”
Who Can Make Change:
- Acting President Ariel Henry;
- Clinton Foundation;
- U.S. Agency for International Development;
- Inter-American Development Bank;
- Sae-A Trading Co. (South Korea).
Evidence of the Issue:
On February 10, 2022, the mostly female workers of the National Society of Industrial Parks (SONAPI) who were peacefully demanding better wages and working conditions, were met with deadly brutal forces from the National Police of Haiti. They were only demanding 1,500 Haitian Gourdes which is $14.53 US dollars for a full day of work. At the time of the protest, the salary was 550 Haitian gourdes, which is $5.33 US dollars, for twelve hours a day. That is about .60 cents an hour.
The workers were demanding less than $2.00 dollars an hour increase; and they were met with live ammunition from the (PNH) Haitian National Police under the command of Frantz Elbé to protect the US brand named merchandisers. Many women were brutally attacked by PHN for daring to ask for better working conditions and a livable wage.
Why Should US Citizens Care?
Citizens of the United States play a vital role in supporting Haiti as 80% of all Haitian exports are to the USA. U.S. stores like Walmart, Target and brands like Hanes are selling to the American consumers merchandise made in Haiti while the workers are facing brutal opposition in protest for a livable wage.
It was reported on February 21, 2022 by a cable network news channel, that back in November of 2021, a group of U.S. Congress members asked the heads of 62 American companies that import garments from Haiti, for information on "protections in place for workers employed by their companies and suppliers."
How Can US Citizens Make Change?
On March 11th, 2022, Haitian-Americans in the diaspora held a demonstration in front of a Target store in Brooklyn, NY to bring forth the plight of the workers in SONAPI. We must all remain vigilant.
The National Black Caucus of the Green Party joins the workers at National Society of Industrial Parks (SONAPI) in solidarity; and condemn the recent acts of aggression against the workers.
Join National Black Caucus members and endorsed candidates in demanding the full respect of workers’ rights by demanding United States brand name retailers put pressure on those who can make change to increase pay for SONAPI workers until a livable wage is negotiated by the garment workers.
We must rally all our resources and allies. Let not the workers of the world remember the silence of their friends.
National Black Caucus Media Chair
For immediate release by the International Committee National Black Caucus Green Party US; co-chairs David Josue and Dea Ptah.