Ex-Workers’ Letters Emphasize Daily Suffering while Nike and Universities Drag their Feet

20100623_cartas_visiontex_closeupUSAS just received four letters from ex-workers of Nike supplier factories Hugger de Honduras and Vision Tex. (The full letters are available below in English and Spanish.)  In the letters, workers tell moving personal stories of how Nike’s refusal to pay the $2.2 million legally owed to the workers is causing immense suffering for the workers and their children.

But universities that give Nike lucrative contracts, like Cornell University, are still dragging their feet while workers’ families have suffered over 17 months without jobs and without the money Nike owes.  Now is the time for action:  If you haven’t yet, please send an e-mail to Cornell president David Skorton and urge him to terminate Cornell’s contract with Nike immediately.

Despite the dramatic and urgent reality for the 1,800 workers affected, Cornell and other universities are demonstrating a total disregard for the seriousness of this situation.  They should follow the example of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where a student campaign persuaded the school to terminate its licensing contract with Nike.  Nike executives themselves must also stop making excuses and Just Pay It!

Ex-Workers’ Letters to Nike

Antonia, an ex-worker at Vision Tex, writes:

Ex-workers of Nike supplier factory Vision Tex rally to demand the money they are owed. June 12, 2010.

Ex-workers of Nike supplier factory Vision Tex rally to demand the money they are owed. June 12, 2010.

20100623_cartas_nike_3Nike,

I am Antonia Lopez Andrade, an ex-employee of Vision Tex with the identification number 0502-1961-00030. The motive for this note is to ask you to take responsibility for all of my rights that I earned as a worker. Since my job with you ended, you owe me 2 weeks of wages, the Christmas bonus, vacation and all of these past 17 months without work. I have had many difficult problems, economic problems. I need the money for groceries at the store, and I do not want to wait any longer. This also makes me so worried that I suffer nights of insomnia and hopelessness over my mortgage and keeping my lights on and the water running.

Please reply.  [Download the original letter in Spanish.]

Gladys, who worked at the Hugger facility, writes:

20100623_cartas_nike_1June 19, 2010

Employee number 1807-1964-01618

I am Gladys Yolanda Ortiz. I worked for 8 years at the factory Hugger de Honduras, which closed operations without paying me my severance. Because of this, I ask that Nike Inc. comply with their own code of conduct for all of us workers – everyone who worked at Hugger de Honduras for a very long time and for low wages. We have been without work, and without money. For this reason, we beg Nike Inc. to pay us what is rightfully ours. They are a large, prestigious company that takes pride in being socially responsible.

Sincerely,

Gladys Yolanda Ortiz [Download the original letter in Spanish.]

Dilcia from Hugger writes:

20100623_cartas_nike_1Saturday, June 19, 2010

I am an operator affected by the factory closure. My name is Dilcia Lorena Zelaya. I worked at the factory that closed operations and left us without our severance. We demand that Nike pay us for having labored to make their branded products and, above all, that they be fair to their workers. We are only demanding our rights. For example, I originally worked one year and did not even receive maternity for my son. Please pay us.

Sincerely,

Dilcia Lorena Zelaya

Hugger textile factory   [Download the original letter in Spanish.]

And finally, Marta from Vision Tex writes:

20100623_cartas_nike_4Executives of Nike,

I am Marta Lidia Garcia, ex-employee of Vision Tex. I worked for 3 years and have nothing to show for it. I am a single mother with four children. I am currently unemployed and my children need many things, including things for school. Now my kids can’t go to school. Why? Because I can’t give them what they need to go to school. It is because of this that I need to be paid my severance. I ask you to please help us obtain our severance pay. We are suffering very much right now in Honduras and cannot find other work. Help us, please.

Marta Lidia Garcia   [Download the original letter in Spanish.]

Please share these important stories by e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and with people you talk with today. Again, if you have not yet taken a moment to express your concerns to Cornell University’s administration, please e-mail Cornell president David Skorton now. Your voice is an important part of this urgent struggle for justice.

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