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Columbia Sportswear Company Message Board

  • lsu_uwm lsu_uwm Jan 3, 2006 4:08 PM Flag

    Columbia Leaves Workers in the Cold

    January 3, 2005

    Dear Columbia Sportswear:

    The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Latino Student Union would like to make the Columbia Sportswear Company aware that we are part of a movement to educate Columbia�s investors and consumers about the company�s role in the direct violation of the human and labor rights of over 500 mostly-female workers at the Evergreen textile factory in Ilopango, El Salvador.

    Although Columbia�s Standards of Manufacturing Practices states that the company �requires all factories with which the Company contracts to operate in compliance with local laws�, we are sure that you are aware of the 24-hour picket line that has been realized by workers and their families in front of Evergreen since the 25th of November, 2005. We are also sure that you are aware that the mass-firing and withholding of severance pay was declared illegal by the Salvadoran Ministry of Labor on Monday, December 19 of last year.

    The failure of Columbia Sportswear Company to promptly and legally resolve this issue was further aggravated on Tuesday, December 27th, when three of our members were issued official citations by the Kenosha police department for spending less than three minutes in the outlet store educating customers about the striking workers in Ilopango. We were told directly by police that charges were issued at the behest of �Columbia�s corporate offices�.

    Such actions by the company make it clear to the consumers and investors we contact that Columbia is not only aware of its role in the violations of human and labor rights of over 500 workers and their families, but that it will take drastic measures to prevent the public from learning about such violations.

    We encourage you to play a positive and responsible role in the lives of the women and families that Columbia affects rather than literally leaving them out in the cold. We encourage you to respect the legal right of each one of those workers to severance pay and the human right to dignified working conditions.

    Sincerely,

    Antonio Ram�rez, co-president
    UW-Milwaukee Latino Student Union

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