90 ARTISTS AND WRITERS WORLDWIDE SEND SOLIDARITY STATEMENT TO GARMENT WORKERS IN HAITI DEMANDING A HIGHER MINIMUM WAGE

 LIST INCLUDES 4 PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING EDITORIAL CARTOONISTS

From the popular Los Angeles comic strip artist Lalo Alcaraz (La Cucaracha) to Malaysian editorial cartoonist Zunar (who has faced such heavy repression that the Cartoonists Rights Network International honored him with the Courage in Editorial Cartooning award), artists from around the world have voiced support for Haitian garment workers struggling for a higher minimum wage.

Four Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonists—Clay Bennett (Chatanooga Times Free Press), Ann Telnaes (Washington Post), Joel Pett (Lexington Herald-Leader), and Mark Fiore (self-syndicated)—are among those who have taken a stand.

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.

The statement was initiated by the Rapid Response Network (a project of One Struggle), which aims to offer prompt solidarity to the struggles of workers against exploitation and repression, and alerts groups and individuals of situations that could benefit from immediate attention.

Stephanie McMillan, a cartoonist and writer (The Beginning of the American Fall, Seven Stories Press, 2013), signed and circulated the artists’ statement. “The Rapid Response Network publicizes and builds support for workers fighting exploitation, under their guidance and in their interests,” she said. “Our goal is to build a worldwide network able to organize effective solidarity and support for autonomous workers’ struggles.”

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