In April, Delta Apparel – a US-based company – fired 40 workers with crippling musculoskeletal injuries from their factory in Honduras. There was outrage, and Delta agreed to reinstate them, but with conditions that violate Honduran labor laws.
Delta Apparel agreed to settle the conflict with the workers’ union, but only in the presence of representatives of the Honduran Maquiladora Association, which would be like having the Chamber of Commerce sit in on bargaining negotiations. Barred from the negotiations, the workers turned to CODEMUH, the Honduran Women’s Collective, but CODEMUH was barred from the process as well.
Nearly all the fired employees, who’ve worked for Delta for 10-19 years, suffer from disabilities due to massive repetitive strain injuries. After having endured a long and costly process to receive disability certification by the Honduran Social Security Institute (IHSS), each worker was issued a medical diagnosis, which demonstrated the cause of injury as being related to assembly line work in the factories. Honduran law requires Delta Apparel to relocate such workers so as to reduce the risk factors that gave rise to the injuries. Instead, the company fired them, citing their “illnesses” as grounds for termination.
Although the company and union reached an agreement to reinstate the workers last week, Delta refuses to relocate them inside the factory in order to reduce their physical stress. The agreement also forces the workers to undergo a reassessment by the Social Security Institute. 25 of the 40 workers have refused to accept any settlements, and are demanding that Delta Apparel give them back their jobs.
The workers are demanding:
That the diagnoses already issued by the Honduran Institute of Social Security be respected by Delta;
That the IHSS and Secretary of Labor and Social Security insist that Delta respect the validity of the Medical Diagnoses; and
That the Honduran Ministry of Labor–and NOT Delta or the Maquila Association–carry out a needed ergonomic study, with objectivity and the highest quality standards.
Contact Delta Apparel directly and insist that they respect the workers’ demands.
Delta Corporate Headquarters Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: Delta Apparel
Thank you for your solidarity,
Witness for Peace Honduras Team