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Tell Russell Athletic: Stop Threats of Violence Against Honduran Workers!

January 26th, 2009

Russell Athletic, a major supplier of athletic apparel to US colleges and universities, is closing down the second of the only two unionized factories in its supply chain in Honduras. The other unionized factory was shuttered last March.

The closures come after a long struggle by workers to unionize the factories, with support from student and labor activists in the US. Russell is NOT closing any of its non-unionized factories in Honduras. The company is clearly ignoring the code of conduct written into its contracts with universities.

In addition, union organizers are under threat. Russell Athletic had initially responded to the organizing drives of workers with an illegal union-busting campaign – firing 145 workers, all of whom were founding members of the unions. Students quickly learned of Russell’s anti-union activities, and immediately put pressure on the company (in the form of threats to cut Russell’s licensing contracts with universities), which forced the company to provide back pay and offers of reinstatement to all of the 145 illegally fired workers. These workers went on reestablish their unions and press for improved working conditions, representing extraordinary progress in complying with the basic labor rights that are written in universities’ codes of conduct. Now the company is dealing with the “problem” of a unionized, sweatshop-free factory by closing it down.

Take action now to protest this closure and the threats of violence against the union organizers. Sign the petition of United Students Against Sweatshops now.

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