This was last updated on Nov. 18, 2013. For the latest version, visit onestruggle.net.
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This statement will be sent to workers’ organizations in Haiti by Nov. 25, 2013.
The garment industry is a global web of nightmares, where workers don’t make enough to survive. Retailers and brands like Gildan, Walmart, The Gap, Levis, Cherokee, Sara Lee, Hanes and J.C. Penney claim that low wages for factory workers and service employees are necessary because consumers demand low prices, when really it is for their own high profits. For example, Walmart made $15.4 billion in 2011.
The conditions for Haitian sweatshop workers are among the harshest and most abusive in the world. Haitian garment workers receive the industry’s lowest wages in the hemisphere: 200 gourdes, or less than $5 per day. Factories have been refusing to comply with even the totally inadequate minimum wage adjustment to 300 gourdes, which was made into law in 2009.
The State Salary Council of Haiti is set to recommend a new minimum wage at the end of November. The autonomous workers organization Batay Ouvriye (Workers Fight) is mobilizing to demand 500 gourdes ($11.50) per day—the minimum required for a family to survive.
Struggles of workers for decent wages and working conditions, plus the right to organize, are constantly met with severe punishment. We must not passively accept the presence of products on store shelves without understanding—and actively opposing—the harsh conditions of exploitation and repression under which they were produced.
As artists and writers, we raise awareness and help shape public opinion about social and political issues. We declare solidarity with garment workers in Haiti who are demanding a wage that meets their needs, that allows them to feed, house, clothe, and educate themselves and their families.
We are not calling for boycotts, and companies should not pull out of Haiti or anywhere else—workers depend on their jobs for survival. Wherever these companies do business, we demand that they face their responsibilities to the workers, who make the goods that provide these companies with enormous profits. They should meet with autonomous unions and workers’ organizations, and ensure that their subcontractors respect workers’ rights, provide safe conditions, pay a living wage, and pay reparations for stolen wages.
Initial signatories (alphabetical),
Lalo Alcaraz, cartoonist (CA, USA), La Cucaracha
Anthony Arnove, writer/editor (NY, USA), Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal
Inez Barlatier, musician (FL, USA), Kazoots
Tarek Benbaba, cartoonist/illustrator (Morocco)
Clay Bennett, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist (TN, USA), Chatanooga
Times Free Press*
Keith Brown, cartoonist (MO, USA)
Malia Bruker, filmmaker (PA, USA), Chase, Heirloom
Daniel Clós Cesar, cartoonist (Brazil)
Sunnerberg Constantin, cartoonist (Belgium)
Chad Crowe, cartoonist (OR, USA)
Julian Del Rio, musican (FL, USA), Terrorist (the band)
Barry Deutsch, cartoonist (OR, USA), Hereville
Tim Eagan, cartoonist (CA, USA), Deep Cover
Simone Frosini, cartoonist (Italy)
Garrincha, cartoonist (FL, USA)
Jean Gouders, cartoonist (Netherlands)
Steve Greenberg, cartoonist (CA, USA), Ventura County Reporter*
Lisa Hartman, idependent filmmaker (CO, USA)
Derrick Jensen, writer (CA, USA), Endgame
Lierre Keith, writer (CA, USA), The Vegetarian Myth
Keith Knight, cartoonist (CA, USA), The Knight Life
John Kovalic, cartoonist (WI, USA), Dork Tower
Peter Kuper, cartoonist/illustrator (NY, USA), Spy vs. Spy
Ivan L., rapper (FL, USA)
Erica Landau, journalist/editor (FL, USA)
Angelo Lopez, cartoonist (CA, USA), Philippines Today*
Franklin Lopez, filmmaker (QC, Canada), submedia.tv
Djamel Lounis, cartoonist (Algeria)
Sophia Mamalinga, cartoonist (Greece)
Popa Matumula, cartoonist (Tanzania), Mzalendo Weekly*
Stephanie McMillan, cartoonist/writer (FL, USA), Capitalism Must Die!
Kat Merkin, singer/musician (FL, USA)
Kevin Moore, cartoonist/librarian (OR, USA), Wanderlost
Victor Ndula, cartoonist (Kenya), The Star*
Scott Neigh, writer (ON, Canada), Resisting the State: Canadian History
Through the Stories of Activists
John Newlands, musician/songwriter (ON, Canada)
Kaan Ocbe & Tyler Lewis, musicians (FL, USA), Unity Rise
Eray Özbek, cartoonist/architecht (Turkey)
Kate Salley Palmer, cartoonist/illustrator (SC, USA), Warbranch Press
Denver Pereira, cartoonist (Goa, India)
Carmen Pérez and Julian Loayza, cartoonists (Spain), McArroni
Edie Pistolesi, Professor of Art, California State University Northridge*
Joel Pett, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist (KY, USA), Lexington
Cindy Procious, fine artist (TN, USA)
Ted Rall, cartoonist/writer (NY, USA, The Anti-American Manifesto
Tjeerd Royaards, cartoonist/Editor-in-Chief, Cartoon Movement
Trish Sheldon, singer/songwriter (FL, USA) , Blue Sky Drive
Richard Shipps, multi-discipline artist (IL, USA)
Estelle Carol & Bob Simpson, cartoonists (IL, USA)
Andy Singer, cartoonist (MN, USA), No Exit
Jen Sorensen, cartoonist (TX, USA), Slowpoke