In $7-Per-Day Fight, Haitian Workers Call for North American Support
By David Wilson, Working In These Times
January 9, 2013

The small workers’ center in Port-au-Prince’s Delmas district was hot and the electricity had gone out, but about three dozen workers from the city’s apparel plants were willing to sit in the dark and the heat for nearly two hours after work one evening in early October to tell a group of U.S. activists about the struggle for better wages in Haiti.

“We have to pay for our transportation,” said “Jean” (not his real name), an employee at the Multiwear Assembly plant in the big industrial park near the airport. “We can’t do anything with our salary. We start work at 6 a.m. and finish at 5 p.m. The quota is huge. We don’t even have time to eat because we can’t meet the quota.”

Protests had broken out at the end of September and the beginning of October, the workers said, after factory owners stepped up production quotas to circumvent an increase in the minimum wage that went into effect on October 1. [...]

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Photo: Haitian workers rally for a living wage outside an industrial park on October 8, 2012. (Marty Goodman/Socialist Action)


Haiti Three Years After the Earthquake: A Labor Perspective

When: Saturday, January 12, 2013, 6 pm
Where: CWA Local 1180, 6 Harrison Street, basement, Manhattan (between Hudson Street and Greenwich Street, 1 to Franklin St or A, C, E, 2 or 3 to Chambers St)
What: Forum on Haiti three years after the earthquake
Contact: Haiti Anti-Sweatshop Committee, 212-781-5157 • 347-792-7091,

New York, Jan. 10—Three New York-based activist journalists are marking the third anniversary of Haiti's 2010 earthquake this Saturday with a report-back on their visits to the country last October. The forum, held at a union hall in Lower Manhattan, will focus on grassroots organizing by Haitians, especially in the garment assembly plants.

The anniversary has brought a run of articles in the media here. While the coverage notes the failure of international aid to help Haiti “build back better,” it also claims there has been “some progress,” in the words of a New York Times editorial. The paper’s example is “a new industrial park north of Port-au-Prince, the capital, providing the first 1,300 of what are supposed to be many thousands of manufacturing jobs.”

The three New Yorkers got a very different perspective in talks with Haitian assembly workers. [...]

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