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.
Antonio Ram�rez, co-president
UW-Milwaukee Latino Student Union
According to the only reference to Columbia in association with that plant that I could find, Columbia ceased association with that plant in 2001. The plant closure occured in 2005 due to lack of orders because Nike, Columbia, Adidas, etc. all pulled out. Formosa was the operator of the plant.
Thus, unless there are circumstances beyond what the letter states, if I were Columbia I would also be very annoyed if people were going into my stores protesting the behavior of a plant with which I had a contract relationship that had been discontinued 4 years prior.
The references are from the sites below.
To: Mr.Antonio Ram�rez, co-president
UW-Milwaukee Latino Student Union
<According to the only reference to Columbia in association with that plant that I could find, Columbia ceased association with that plant in 2001.>
So, Mr. union-man - what say you?
That way all those folk who are working in El Savidor can migrate to the United States and go to work under cutting the Americn work force.
That's why the mexicans are crossing the borders into the USA. Cause those south american are flooding into Mexico and unpricing themselves for work.
ASK ANY LOW WAGE EARNER MEXICAN ABOUT IT...
Bunch of dumb ass college students I hope when they get out of college and into the work force they can enjoy the fruits of their labor while working at McDonalds as all the manufacturing jobs have moved overseas and as well as the human resources departments to India.
Be careful of what you wish for... It just might come true. Oh, I forgot... Their college educated students, they know it all.
Imagine if you will if America keeps losing jobs and we have high unemployment, where is everybody suppose to get a good paying job from?
Think about that. Human rights violations are trival at best. While of course, they exist.
Why don't you go to China and complain about their human right records. I'm sure you'll be promptly thrown out of the country or into jail.