Primary links

WELCOME TO THE ARCHIVE (1994-2014) OF THE MAQUILA SOLIDARITY NETWORK. For current information on our ongoing work on the living wage, women's labour rights, freedom of association, corporate accountability and Bangladesh fire and safety, please visit our new website, launched in October, 2015:

MSN's Past Posts/Articles

In this section you can find a collection of MSN's past posts and articles. Please also see MSN Newsletters and MSN's The Wire.

November 20, 2009

Neil Kearney: a passionate, tireless defender of workers’ rights, colleague, and friend

We received the sad news yesterday of the sudden, unexpected death of Neil Kearney, General Secretary of the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation (ITGLWF). Neil died in his sleep of a massive heart attack early Thursday morning November 19 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Neil was 59.

November 18, 2009

Historic Victory: Jerzees de Honduras workers win break-through agreement

An unprecedented agreement has been struck between Russell Athletic and the union representing 1,200 unjustly laid off workers at its former Jerzees de Honduras (JDH) factory. The company has agreed to open a new facility in the area, re-hire and provide substantial economic assistance to the former JDH workers, institute a joint union-management training program on freedom of association and commit to a position of neutrality with respect to unionization, which will open the door for union representation at all Fruit of the Loom facilities in Hondura.

November 10, 2009

International Labour Organization mission to investigate Philippines abuses

Striking workers met by batons

The Government of the Philippines has finally agreed to allow a High-Level ILO Mission to visit the country and investigate extrajudicial killings of labour rights advocates.

Trade unions in the Philippines have been trying for two years to initiate an international investigation but had been blocked by government and employer delegations.


November 10, 2009

Canada needs to back ILO in the Philippines

A high-level International Labour Organization (ILO) Mission to the Philippines wrapped up on September 29, feeding hopes that international attention will help stem the tide of violence and intimidation that has been unleashed on Filipino trade union organizers and human rights advocates. The ILO Mission was charged with investigating the killings of 92 union leaders and activists since 2001. 

October 3, 2007

Responding to factory closures

With the demise of the import quota system at the beginning of 2005, companies began restructuring global supply chains with little regard for the workers, communities and countries that are affected. When the economic crisis hit in the latter half of 2008, the industry began a whole new wave of downsizing and restructuring.

April 9, 2007

Sweat, fire and ethics

The sweatshop is back. MSN argues that citizenship is more likely to get rid of it than shopping.

January 3, 2007

At what point does the lowest price have too high a cost?

Even when retailers and brands have a decent code of conduct requiring their suppliers to meet international labour standards, their own purchasing practices can send contradictory messages to suppliers and undermine efforts to improve working conditions in their supply factories. Low prices paid to suppliers, footloose sourcing practices, and overly tight production timelines can all lead to labour rights abuses at the factory level.

December 19, 2006

Disclosure - where are your clothes made?

Stop pulling the wool over our eyesCurrently, there is no way for consumers, including public institutions, to know where the apparel products they buy are made or under what conditions - clothing labels only tell us the country of origin. Because we often cannot link a retailer to the factories that makes their clothes, the retailer cannot be held responsible for the conditions under which their goods are made.

December 18, 2006

Discount Chains: Low prices at any cost?

A major challenge for the labour rights and corporate accountability movements is the growing power and influence of one-stop discount retailers like Wal-Mart. These multi-national discount chains are not only changing the face of the apparel and retail industries, they are impacting on North American and European economies and societies as a whole.

December 18, 2006

'Where can I buy clean clothes?'

Unfortunately we don't have a list of 'clean' retailers or manufacturers -- MSN does not endorse or recommend any specific companies. Recently, however, we've seen an increase in small companies originating from a fair trade or activist background who are trying to provide an ethical alternative for consumers.