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Monclova International: Responsible Closure – the bottom line

November 30, 2006

What workers and local and international labour rights groups expect from Hanesbrands in the closure of Monclova International in Coahuila, Mexico:

1. More transparency and dialogue between the company and its workers

  • Hanesbrands should commit to establishing direct and open dialogue with the workers at Monclova International, and act on that commitment by convening a series of public meetings open to all current and former Monclova International workers and other interested parties, and by recognizing and dialoguing with any existing committees that workers at Monclova International have set up in order to bring their concerns to the attention of company management.1  
    The aim of this dialogue should be to clarify possible misunderstandings and answer questions regarding the closure and to establish a clear process of how all workers are going to be compensated.
  • The company should inform the workers and members of the community, through an open letter and/or media release addressed to the workers, the community and the media, the actual reasons for the closure, given that the company, through its local management, has provided contradictory information to workers and the media which has generated confusion and suspicions.
    In particular, the company should publicly clarify that statements allegedly made by local management that appeared to put the blame for the closure on workers, and/or the local labour rights organization SEDEPAC, who have brought forward legitimate complaints to the company and the Local Conciliation and Arbitration Board, are totally unfounded and incorrect.

2. Full legal compensation in matters of pay and health & safety

  • Hanesbrands must provide full severance pay (liquidación) in conformance with Mexican labour law to the full complement (totalidad) of the workers, based on the best salary received in the past 12 months. This is of particular concern for those workers in the sleeve production area, whose pay decreased as a result of an increase in the production quota in their last months of employment.
  • Hanesbrands must commit to fully complying with Mexican labour legislation and resolve – in an efficient and timely manner – the 10 outstanding complaints filed with the Local Conciliation and Arbitration Board against Monclova International.
  • Hanesbrands should, without delay and in a transparent manner, provide workers their ST1 (Secretaria de Trabajo 1) forms, as is their legal right.
  • Hanesbrands should immediately cease the practice of forcing workers to sign letters declaring that they are in good health (“cartas de buena salud”) as a condition of providing workers with their legal financial benefits without any professional assessment of the workers actual state of health. Nor should the company pressure workers to sign any other letters that limit or deny them their legal rights or benefits. All letters to this effect that have already been signed by workers should be destroyed.
  • The company should ensure that all Monclova International workers (irregardless of the number of years of service or the date of layoff after the announcement of the factory closure) receive a prompt, serious and professional assessment of their state of health by the appropriate local office of Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS) in order to establish the actual health conditions of workers at the end of their employment at Monclova and to identify any work-related health problems, injuries or disabilities. The company should ensure that appropriate compensation is provided to all workers with all applicable compensation and health benefits, in accordance with Mexican law.

3. Above the bare minimum: Demonstrate Hanesbrands commitment to social responsibility both to its workers and to the community

  • Hanesbrands should actively promote and help facilitate new employment opportunities for its Monclova workforce by working with local government and garment and related maquilas to ensure preferential hiring opportunities for those workers, and through paid ads (desplegados públicos) in local media calling on other local garment and related maquilas to support former Monclova workers by providing them with priority in new hirings, without discrimination based on age, advocacy activities in support of workers’ rights, or worker organizing activities.
  • Hanesbrands should take necessary steps and provide adequate financial support in partnership with the government employment service (“servicio estatal de empleo”) in order that all ex-Monclova International employees who so choose can access government scholarships for training programs and job searches. This opportunity should be communicated to all workers and the process monitored independently by persons recognized by the community in order to ensure that all workers have access to training and the necessary financial resources, as well as job opportunities.
  • Hanesbrands should commit to providing adequate economic support for co-operative micro-enterprise projects to groups of ex-Monclova International workers who request support for the establishment of such projects.
  • Hanesbrands should ensure that daycare services remain available to the former Monclova International workers and provide, as a donation to the community – in recognition of the benefits the company has received over the number of years it has operated in Monclova, the land upon which the IMSS administered daycare center currently operates in plant #2. The company should ensure that IMSS is able to continue the operation of the daycare center.
  • The company should immediately provide information to its workers and relevant community and government authorities on its future plans for all remaining plants in the state of Coahuila and in all of Mexico, and should inform its remaining workers in Mexico about its future plans regarding restructuring – both in the short and medium term.

4. Monitoring and verifying impacts

  • The company should agree to fully cooperate with an independent, third-party verification of its compliance with Mexican law and any additional agreements.
  • The company should commit to financially supporting an independent, third-party assessment of the impacts of the closure on former Monclova workers and on the community. Such a study should track workers over the next year and provide a public report back to the community on the situation of the workers following the training and job placement programs.

1 Although a union affiliated with the CTM formally holds the contract for the workers, Sara Lee (now Hanesbrands) is well aware, based on legal complaints filed by workers that name both the Confederacion de Trabajadores de México (CTM) and its state leader Tereso Medina Ramírez and the company, and information received from reputable third parties, that the CTM union is not a credible representative of the workers for the purposes of negotiating severance pay and other benefits. 

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