Friday, March 8, 2013

Help these brave women fight for their rights on International Women's Day

For human rights, not so much. 
Elizabeth Hernandez and Maria De La Cruz were illegally fired from a Honduran banana plantation for supporting their union, which is officially recognized by the government.

Several others were fired as well from Chiquita banana supplier Tres Hermanas. The company refused to pay the minimum wage and overtime, and wouldn't bargain with the workers.

Counterpunch tells us what's it's like to work on those banana plantations:
Women working on Chiquita’s plantations in Central America work from 6:30 a.m. until 7 at night, their hands burning up inside rubber gloves.  Some workers are as young as 14.   
Central American banana workers have sought damages against Chiquita for exposing them in the field to DBCP, a dangerous pesticide which causes sterility, cancer and birth defects in children.
You can help the fired workers by sending a letter to the CEO of Tres Hermanas, courtesy of the International Labor Rights Forum.  The letter (here) asks José Lorenzo Obregón to respect union rights and reinstate the fired workers.

The International Labor Rights Forum makes the ask:
This International Women’s Day, join us in calling on Chiquita banana supplier Tres Hermanas to bargain with SITRAINBA, the legally-recognized union on its three banana plantations in southern Honduras. 
Since 2009, workers at Tres Hermanas have raised concerns over a pattern of labor rights violations, including failure to pay the minimum wage, unpaid overtime, and the illegal firing of workers attempting to exercise their right to organize.  In order to protect their rights, workers on Tres Hermanas’ plantations formed the union SITRAINBA, which was officially recognized by the Honduran Ministry of Labor on August 15, 2012. 
But instead of recognizing and bargaining with SITRAINBA as required by Honduras’ labor law, Tres Hermanas’ management has launched a campaign of anti-union harassment, including firing four women who were prominent union supporters. These egregious violations of the workers’ internationally recognized right to organize are all the more shocking since the plantations are Rainforest Alliance certified.
Sign the letter here.