Tag Archives: Haiti

Batay Ouvriye – ON THE ELECTIONS!

The following is text from a flyer being handed out by Batay Ouvriye (Worker’s Fight) in Haiti. Batay Ouvriye is an autonomous mass working class movement which has been organized over many years of intense repression from the bosses. Capitalists in the US have shipped many production and assembly jobs oversees where they can exploit and abuse the workers and laborers around the world a lot easier for a lot less pay, often with the help of mainstream US unions. Workers Struggle stands in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Haiti in their attempts to construct a new Haiti, one where workers have their own autonomous power and control.

They have several types and forms of organizations present within the movement. This text is from a flyer currently being handed out by the intermediate level organizations  to the workers there, often concentrated in sweatshops within massive complexes known as “Free Trade Zones” and “Industrial Parks” (The pleasant language of the capitalists hiding the intense levels of exploitation taking place).  Workers Struggle will develop and put out a text on this concept as it is the focal point of unity among ourselves. American workers and Haitian workers (as well as workers all over the world) are under brutal assaults by the same capitalist class and together we can fight for our own interests! Since they have been organizing for decades, their language and levels of unity might seem complex at times, but this is the language of the working class constructing its own power in a place so brutally attacked by so many masters of wars. It is an extraordinary example of what workers and laborers can do, if we organize ourselves!

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Batay Ouvriye

 

For many years, we of Batay Ovriye have been saying this society is in crisis. It’s a crisis that has splintered the whole of the inner frame of society. This is an economic, political and cultural crisis. This is a crisis that is decaying society. Neither the ruling classes, the state, nor the imperialists can find solutions to this crisis.

Since 1986, they employed many schemes to try to get out of this crisis : elections, coup d’etats, occupations, fraudulent elections…however, the country falls deeper into worse recurring crises. We in Batay Ouvriye, we are clear of one thing for sure: whether it’s an orange, the state apparatus, or the social formation of society that is sucking our blood, when it’s rotten, it’s rotten for good, there is no cure for it.

When the orange is rotten, we can only throw it away in the trash. This social formation exploiting us, this state that’s repressing us, this state that has become rotten and under the orders of imperialism, there is no cure for them. WE CAN ONLY THROW THEM AWAY IN THE TRASHCAN OF HISTORY. 

Today, once more, the ruling classes and the imperialists want the popular masses to follow their plan of exploitation. They want us to go and vote in the elections. Society is decaying, the wound is the « electoral crisis ». The ruling classes and all the candidates want us, the candidates want us to vote for them, but they will do nothing for us, they will only cater to their own interests. Further, each candidate is surrounded by a plethora of electoral thugs tagging along behind them in pursuit of state jobs. Many elections have been done already, and the country is in deeper crises forevermore. All the past governments have clearly demonstrated they were incapable to deal with the crisis the country is experiencing, while politicians are filling their pockets.

We witnessed how the elections of August 9 and October 25, 2016 stuck in their throats. Despite such a big contradiction, the politicians managed to mobilize a good part of the popular masses and divided us in their own interests. This contradiction plays a major role in mystifing the popular masses. Today, we are facing the same situation in which the enemy is leaning on us to rebuild themselves with only one intention and that is to take state power.

In this context, we must think deeply about the electoral lies and deceit the candidates are presenting before us in the popular masses.  Notwithstanding, all we can say, there are many among the popular masses who lend their ear to the election propaganda. For example : we talk about elections, we mobilize and we strive to vote despite all the complaints among us.

The elections are a struggle among the politicians to enrich themselves in the plan of exploitation of the ruling classes and the imperialists. None of these politicians will do anything for us, workers in the sweatshops or other factories.

We must be clear, for the ruling classes and the imperialists, it’s either they organize the elections or extend and consolidate the occupation to maintain their power over us.

In the popular masses, we are facing another choice : either we tag along the plan of our enemies fighting in the electoral arena, or we have to pursue our own independent struggles. Elections or not, new president or not, or a more stringent occupation because of the bankrupcy of the Haitian ruling classes, the fight on the electoral arena is not ours.

Our Struggles are :

  • Fight against exploitation, fight against the abuses of the capitalists and feudal lords
  • Fight for the minimum wage of 500 gourdes for an eight-hour workday ($7.81) at the least
  • Fight for the poor peasants to find land, sharecroppers to change to 3 parts, day laborers to get better wages
  • Fight for all workers to get health insurance and work insurance
  • Fight to organize our own unions without retaliation
  • Fight to build another type of state, our very own state
  • Fight to build another type of society in the interests of the popular masses with the laborers as the backbone under the leadership of the workers.

There is not one candidate nor political party that articulates these demands, and even if they did, it would surely be political pandering. This state is not ours, these elections are not ours.

The most advanced workers who are beginning to see clearly and understand their historical responsibilities must have a clear battle cry and clear orientation for the masses to demarcate themselves from the rotten orientation the traditional politicians are spreading among the masses.

We have a challenge : finding a solution to build an immediate alternative for the masses to get out of this situation, so we can stand up on our feet firmly to make decisions based on our interests, and to not let politicians use us.

In the context of this challenge, there are no easy solutions. Poisoned food does not cure stomachache. We must organize ourselves based on our real interests with a clear line and battle cry above all.

Our work must allow us to build a combative independent organization of workers.

The Struggle has just begun.

ADVANCED WORKERS : LET’S ASSUME OUR HISTORICAL RESPONSIBILITIES !

October 20, 2016

Fired textile workers call for support!!

500gourdesWe received the following from the Rapid Response Network:

Textile workers in Haiti ask that we pressure H&H sweatshop (where clothing for retailers like Walmart is produced) to rehire the workers who were fired, respect the right to organize, and to pay the wages workers demand. Working class solidarity knows no borders! Workers of the world: unite! Please share widely.

Details here: http://goo.gl/PW0h8l

and here:

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NYC Event: Haiti: Imperialist Domination, Occupation and Emancipation: The Working-Class Perspective

july28

We received a notice for an event coming up:

The Batay Ouvriye Solidarity Network invites you to our monthly progressive community
gathering on the occasion of the 101st Anniversary of the first U.S. Occupation of Haiti
(July 28, 1915-July 28, 2016).

Haiti: Imperialist Domination, Occupation and Emancipation: The Working-Class
Perspective

Political Analysis
Refreshments & Debate

Saturday, July 30, 2016 – 6:00 PM

Jan-Jak Desalin Community Hall
836 Rogers Ave, Brooklyn
(between Church Ave and Erasmus St, take #2 train to Church Ave.)

for information call: 516-499-1689bosolidarity@yahoo.com

 

Garment workers in Haiti: text of press conference June 10

TEXTILE FACTORY UNION PLATFORM

PLASIT-BO

[original Kreyol version is below]

Greetings to our Media Friends, radio, newspaper and television covering the Press Conference that PLASIT-BO is giving today. The objective of this conference is to make known our position after the mobilization we launched since this past April 14 to pressure the government to set the minimum wage at 500 Gourdes ($7.94) at the very least and other accompanying demands. We can say that our mobilization did bear fruit because it impeded the offer of 265 Gourdes (US $4.21) that the capitalists wanted to shove down our throats.

Notwithstanding the fact that we are not satisfied with the Executive Order setting the wage at 300 Gourdes (US $4.76) as reference wage and 350 Gourdes (US $5.56) as minimum wage for workers in production, we recognize this will allow us to negotiate with several capitalists on the question of piece work and force them to pay arrears since May First that they owe us, just as this is being done even today as we speak in CODEVI, Ouanaminthe. In addition, we wrote to the president of the Social Affairs Commission of the two branches of Parliament to express our concerns on the 2009 law, which creates a lot of confusion about two minimum wages existing in the sector; they are playing deaf and are dragging their feet with absenteeism in the parliament, while issues that are sensitive and important to the people are at rest in the drawers.

We are denouncing with all our strength acts of repression perpetrated by capitalists such as Alain Villard and Clifford Apaid against many of our comrades, namely the General Coordinator of SOTA-BO and spokesperson of PLASIT-BO, Telemarque Pierre, and the Assistant Coordinator of a SOTA section in Premium Apparel and two other comrades in Palm Apparel after the day of mobilization on May 11 and May 19, 2016, which PLASIT-BO launched to demand that the government set the minimum wage immediately.

Those capitalists, Clifford Apaid and Alain Villard, are simply defending their own interests, not only as reactionary bourgeois, but also, they act according to the dictate from a US Department of Labor memo sent to them after ADIH, which called us ‘terrorists’, in cahoots with Better Work denounced and condemned the so-called acts of violence they said were perpetrated against property and people on the days of mobilization.

The firings represent hallmarks of anti-union and arbitrary discrimination and retaliation. They want to punish union organizers that stand up to fight for just demands on the pretext of violence on the days of our mobilization. While we are fighting for the reinstatement of our comrades who were victims of the repression of the capitalists, we are continuing to fight for other demands associated with wages such as the social benefits we called for in our mobilization, namely, food subsidies, schools for our children, transportation, and social housing. True, we got a little something with Executive Order on the wage adjustment, but the fight is not over. That is why we demand:

  • Reinstatement of our comrades, Telemarque Pierre, Clerger Felixon, Cadet Mackenzie and Adrien Jean Anslo immediately in their post unconditionally.
  • That the Ministry of Social Affairs launch meetings with the unions, management and the social security institutions to discuss the recommendations that the Supreme Salary Council made in its last report, such as the question of social benefits, and then conclude with a clear resolution to make sure this question is really implemented.
  • The Haitian State should provide a mechanism to relaunch negotiations on the reforms to the Labor Code, because the existing code does not conform to the present reality.
  • The Supreme Salary Council should make plans to start meeting in the month of July in order to be able to make its recommendations in a timely manner in the month of October as it should.
  • The Parliament should make plans to legislate a new law on the minimum wage. The 2009 law is full of confusion and does not conform to today’s reality.
  • The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in particular the Free Trade Zone Administration, should immediately stop dragging its feet on the project to build a cafeteria in CODEVI, since the money is already allocated, so workers can eat in a decent environment.

DOWN WITH CAPITALISTS THAT ARE VIOLATING UNION RIGHTS IN THEIR REPRESSION AGAINST UNIONISTS WHO ARE FIGHTING FOR THEIR RIGHTS!

LONG LIVE WORKERS WHO ARE DEMANDING LIVING WAGES AND BETTER WORKING CONDITIONS!

MOBILIZATIONS FOR LIVING WAGES AND UNION RIGHTS WILL CONTINUE MORE BOLDLY!

For PLASIT-BO,

Telemarque Pierre, SOTA-BO

Perrenard REMY, SOKOWA-BO

Port-Au-Prince, June 10, 2016

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We’re In This Together!!

We in Workers Struggle and working people in the US and Canada support textile workers in Haiti, members of the Textile Factory Union Platform-Batay Ouvriye (PLASIT-BO), who are fighting for the minimum wage and the right to organize.

We are watching how companies and political agencies and NGOs are putting obstacles in front of workers who are struggling for a better life. Similar outrages are perpetrated upon us – often at the hands of these same multinational companies and institutions, and their allies!

Workers around the world suffer while a small minority gets rich by exploiting us. We need to reach our hands across the borders they created, and start coordinating our struggles. If we stand together, these companies won’t be able to keep pushing us into their “race to the bottom,” forcing us to compete for the lowest pay. Instead, we need to force them to pay at least a living wage to all workers, everywhere!

We demand:

* Premium factory: No retaliation against union organizers! Rehire Telemarque Pierre!
* Gildan and other global brands: Make sure the factories you contract with—everywhere—pay workers what they are due, and treat workers with dignity!
* Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor of Haiti: Concede to workers’ demands for a minimum wage of 500 gourdes!

Workers of Haiti, we stand in solidarity with you in our common fight. As we support your struggle, our best contribution is to build a strong, autonomous, militant working class movement of our own, in the belly of the beast. That is our goal!

Signed,

WorkersStruggle-Fort Lauderdale
WorkersStruggle-Miami
WorkersStruggle-Sudbury, Ontario

Call for Solidarity: Demand Reinstatement of Union Organizer in Haiti

We received the following call for international solidarity from Textile Factory Union Platform-Batay Ouvriye (PLASIT-BO). Please take action, and send solidarity statements to the workers (info below). Kreyol original is behind the cut.

Textile workers mobilize for the minimum wage May 11, 2016 in Port-au-Prince.

Textile workers mobilize for the minimum wage May 11, 2016 in Port-au-Prince.

Following the day of mobilization on May 11, 2016 that the Textile Factory Union Platform-Batay Ouvriye (PLASIT-BO) launched to demand that the government set the minimum wage at 500 Gourdes ($7.94 for an eight-hour workday) and publish an Executive Order to make it official immediately, Clifford Apaid, owner of the plant, Premium Apparel, made the decision to fire our comrade, Telemarque Pierre, General Coordinator of Apparel and Textile Workers Union (SOTA-BO) and spokesperson for PLASIT, on Saturday May 14, 2016.

The firing is an act of repression, which is not a surprise to us after we learned of the declarations of capitalist organizations such as ADIH (Haitian Industrialists Association), Better Work and USDOL (United States Department of Labor). They are united to denounce and condemn acts of violence they claim to have been committed against property and people during the day of mobilization. After these declarations of war, we knew the bosses were going to retaliate against us, workers, who are fighting to change our lives.

We denounce the repression against our comrade. We say, “an injury to one is injury to all of us.” We’re calling on our friends and comrades, brothers and sisters in national and international organizations to demand the reinstatement of Telemarque Pierre in his post immediately.

To do so, contact the companies and agencies below :

Premium Apparel (factory): premium@agacorp.com

Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor (MAST), Haiti : maffairesocial@yahoo.fr

***

In addition, you can contact the following:

AGA Corporation (Premium is its subsidiary):
7209 NW 41 St., Miami, FL 33166-6711
305-592-1860

Gildan (the international clothing brand that contracts with Premium):
Jason M. Greene, Director of Supply Chain: 843-606-3750
Corporate office (Montreal): 514-735-2023; toll free 866-755-2023; info@gildan.com
Customer Service (Charleston, SC): 843-606-3600
Twitter: @GildanOnline; facebook.com/GildanOnline/

Use #RehirePierre #SolidarityForever #500Gourdes

Send statements of solidarity directly to the textile workers, and let them know of your activities: batay@batayouvriye.org

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This Thursday 5/19: Textile Workers in Haiti Pledge to Mobilize Against Repression!!

May11b

[Kreyol original below]

Management has begun a repression campaign following the day of mobilization on May 11, 2016 by the Textile Factory Union Platform-Batay Ouvriye (PLASIT-BO) to demand that the government set the minimum wage at 500 Gourdes ($7.94 for an eight-hour workday) and publish an Executive Order to make it official immediately.  The general coordinator of the Apparel and Textile Workers Union-Batay Ouvriye (SOTA-BO) and spokesperson of PLASIT, Telemarque Pierre, has been fired on Saturday May 14, 2016 with no motive given. This act of repression is not a surprise to us coming from the factory boss, Clifford Apaid. He’s simply acting on his interest not only as a reactionary bourgeois, but also, acting in accordance to the dictates of his masters in United States Department of Labor (U.S.D.O.L.). Capitalist organizations such as ADIH (Haitian Industrialists Association) in mesh with Better Work and U.S. Department of Labor are united to denounce and condemn acts of violence they claim to have been committed against property and people during the day of mobilization.

Cheaply said  but badly thought out.  Just as May 11, we have become aware that it is through our COLLECTIVE STRUGGLES WE WILL WRESTLE OUR RIGHTS UNDER THE WEIGHT OF CAPITALISTS, THE HAITIAN STATE AND THEIR IMPERIALIST MASTERS. We, the workers, know very well, “an injury to one is injury to all of us in the working class.” Where were ADIH, USDOL and Better Work for the eight (8) months that nothing was said about our minimum wage ?

Mobilization of textile workers, May 11, 2016, Port-au-Prince

Mobilization of textile workers, May 11, 2016, Port-au-Prince

All of these ravings are a declaration of war against us, workers, who are fighting for a living wage allowing for a better life for our children. They are speaking of violence without thinking about the violence we are subjected to everyday in not being paid a living wage to meet our basic needs such as feeding our children, paying rent, having health insurance even as we work so hard. This is the violence capitalists are perpetrating against us, workers, while the institutions, national as well as international, and the Haitian State, have said nothing against that. They all keep their mouths shut.

It should have been clear to the bosses and their allies, “hungry dogs don’t play!” They are responsible for the conditions that forced us to take to the streets to scream for help so they  give us a minimum wage of at least 500 Gourdes ($7.94 for an eight-hour workday). Neither ADIH, Better Work nor USDOL can understand the extreme violence against us when we cannot feed our children dinner everyday after work. We are forced to go and borrow 20 gourdes ($0.32) in order to give our children sweetened water to drink. They are using a few isolated incidents committed during the living wage mobilization to confuse the issue and make the victims appear to be the bullies. In this way, they can launch a repression campaign or take sanctions against union leaders.

That is why we say : The firing of our comrade will not be tolerated. All employers who wish to use the dictates of USDOL to intimidate us, make us afraid to continue to organize or mobilize, we are telling them, WE WILL NOT OBEY! The Fight for social justice will continue! Our comrade is fired for his union activities, demanding a living wage. Union activities such as strikes and marching cannot be motives to fire a union leader. The firing of our comrade is an act of repression, intimidation and interference in the fundamental rights of workers to organize concerted activities to defend their economic and social interests.

We demand the reinstatement of our comrade, Telemarque Pierre, immediately! Why should he lose his job just because he was doing union business for demands of a collective nature? We disagree with the minimum wage of 265 Gourdes ($4.21) the ADIH employers are pushing for. We will not be intimidated nor give up in this fight. The mobilization for a minimum wage of $500 Gourdes and other demands will continue with more vigor! We will rally on Thursday May 19, 2016 to continue our mobilization in front of SONAPI and march to the National Palace.

DOWN WITH REACTIONARY ADIH BOSSES WHO ARE PULLING STRINGS TO STOP US FROM GETTING THIS MEASLY MINIMUM WAGE !

FORWARD WITH THE STRUGGLE OF FACTORY WORKERS WHO DEMAND 500 GOURDES ($7.94) AS MINIMUM WAGE !

THE STRUGGLE HAS JUST BEGUN!

PLASIT-BO/MAY 16, 2016

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Workers Shut Down SONAPI Industrial Park in Haiti, Demanding Wages

http://www.vantbefinfo.com/haitieconomietension-des-ouvriers-de-la-sous-traitance-reclament-le-respect-du-salaire-minimum/

A news report by Vant Bef Info, May 11, 2016. Translation by Google Translate, slightly edited [original French below]:

9:30 am

Workers of subcontracting firms currently begin (9:30 am) a work stoppage followed by a sit-in outside the offices of the National Society of Industrial Parks (SONAPI) at the airport road, Vant Bef Info learned.

The initiative came from the employees of manufacturing companies located on the airport road, who headed to SONAPI to find the solidarity of other workers.

The protesters are demanding five hundred (500) gourdes as minimum wage and require, among other things, compliance with legal provisions relating to this issue.

All activities are suspended at SONAPI, businesses doors are closed. As the workers demonstrated, agents of the National Police of Haiti appeared on the scene.

There are tensions at times, and vehicular traffic is very difficult in the area of SONAPI.

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Statement from garment workers in Haiti on May First

BOlogoSquare[Kreyol original is below]

TEXTILE PLANT UNION PLATFORM

PLASIT-BO (Textile Plant Union Platform – Workers Fight)

TO COMMEMORATE MAY FIRST 2016, WE SAY: WE WON’T OBEY!

MayDay is not “Day of Agriculture and Labor.” It is a day to commemorate the struggles of workers on the planet. To celebrate agriculture and labor is to celebrate a collaboration where workers are forced to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the bourgeois bosses and the latifundistas together with representatives of the reactionary government. That’s an all-out effort to prevent us from  commemorating what MAYDAY represents for workers all over the world. They say it’s day of agriculture and labor while there is no real policy for the development of agricultural production or investments to create decent jobs at the very least in the country.

MAYDAY is the commemoration of this gigantic FIGHT THE WORKING CLASS throughout the world carried out in 1886 to achieve an 8-hour workday among other demands. Facing off the bourgeois and their reactionary state, this FIGHT began in the city of Chicago in the United States. Quickly, it spread throughout the country. Then a year later, it covered the whole planet. The reactionaries killed workers and laborers, lynched some of them and deported many others. However, the working class fought back also. They struggled and hit back an eye-for-an-eye. There were even special combat organizations, mass mobilizations, FIGHTS everywhere, for a long time. Finally, the bourgeoisie together with their reactionary state conceded to the workers demand for the 8-hour workday for their earned wages.  Haiti is one of a few countries on the planet which does not acknowledge this date and tries to claim it to co-opt workers into class collaboration with the bourgeois bosses. Today, we see through the maneuvers and games of the State where even the governments that claim to be “progressive” show the same reactionary attitude of deviation-cooptation.

That is why PLASIT-BO says: WE WON’T OBEY! We will always wage OUR INDEPENDENT STRUGGLES in the commemoration of MAYDAY. So, in OUR INDEPENDENT MOBILIZATION, in Port-Au-Prince as well as Au Cap, Caracol, and Ouanaminthe, we are raising our immediate demands, namely:

  • A living wage to meet the needs of our children, our families and ourselves. We demand 500 gourdes ($7.94) a day at the very least without increasing the quotas, and other social benefits ;
  • Good working conditions and respect for our union rights to defend our interests ;
  • A new Labor Code that protects all categories of workers against exploitation and humiliation ;
  • A social security system that protects us against line-of-duty accidents, illnesses, maternity and old age based on a real social protection net in the country ;
  • Comprehensive agrarian reform and technical support for peasants and other laborers in the rural areas ;
  • The country to regain its sovereignty to choose its own economic model to create wealth and decent and sustainable work in our territory. And for the State to guarantee a decent living conditions for workers and laborers and their families on the basis of the wealth creation. Therefore, the State must guarantee the social and economic rights of all workers against all national and international capitalists so they don’t step on those rights.

Today, the imperialists, the bourgeoisie and their reactionary State are attempting to disorient our minds on the fraudulent elections; those elections that aggravated the deep structural crisis in the country. Today, the economy is in deep trouble; interference/stewardship and the MINUSTAH military occupation is growing rapidly and threatens our sovereignty as a nation. Therefore, we should not continue to obey this decaying social order. We, workers, laborers, the popular masses in general, to achieve real change in our lives, in the country in general, we must continue to focus on  our true interests firmly so we can contribute to the development of a gigantic movement of uprising that will pave the way for a new Haiti.

LET’S COME TOGETHER TO DEFEND OUR INTERESTS!

AGAINST THE BOURGEOIS VIOLATING OUR RIGHTS AND THEIR REACTIONARY STATE!

ONLY A GENREAL MOBILLIZATION WILL HELP US EMERGE FROM THE HOLE WE ARE IN!

LONG LIVE THE WORKING CLASS WORLDWIDE!

May First 2016

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For May Day 2016, Workers and Laborers Say: WE WILL NOT OBEY!

[A statement from PLASIT-BO, Textile Plant Union Platform-Batay Ouvriye (Workers Fight), in Haiti. Kreyol original is below.]

WE FIGHT FOR :

  • A living wage to meet the needs of our children, our families and ourselves. We demand 500 gourdes ($7.94) a day at the very least without increasing the quotas, and other social benefits ;
  • Good working conditions and respect for our union rights to defend our interests ;
  • A new Labor Code that protects all categories of workers against exploitation and humiliation ;
  • A social security system that protects us against line-of-duty accidents, illnesses, maternity and old age based on a real social protection net in the country ;
  • Comprehensive agrarian reform and technical support for peasants and other laborers in the rural areas ;
  • The country to regain its sovereignty to choose its own economic model to create wealth and work in our territory.

TEXTILE PLANT UNION PLATFORM (PLASIT-BO) INVITES ALL WORKERS AND LABORERS IN ALL SECTORS, POOR PEASANTS, THE UNEMPLOYED, STUDENTS, SERIOUS MILITANTS TO A DEMONSTRATION ON SUNDAY MAY 1ST, 2016 TO COMMEMORATE INTERNATIONAL WORKERS DAY.

WE ARE RALLYING AT 9 :00 A.M. IN FRONT OF THE INDUSTRIAL PARK (SONAPI) TO START THE MARCH ALONG THE AIRPORT ROAD, AROUND DELMA 18, PEYAN ROAD, BEL-AIR, AND TO REACH CHAMPS-DE-MARS.

THIS MAYDAY, WE ARE TAKING THE STREETS TO DEMAND OUR RIGHTS THAT ARE VIOLATED. WE STOP OBEYING THE EXPLOITING RULING CLASSES AND DISHONEST POLITICIANS ! LONG LIVE THE WORKERS AND LABORERS EVERYWHERE ! WE ARE THE ONES WHO CAN BREAK THE CHAINS BINDING OUR FEET !

PLASIT-BO

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Textile Workers Mobilize in Haiti for Minimum Wage Adjustment — Press Conference

Press Conference on April 14, 2016

Greetings to all our media friends, print as well as television, that come to provide coverage for the conference that PLASIT, which is Textile Plants Union Platform, to launch the mobilization for the minimum wage adjustment for the year 2015-2016. In PLASIT, we notice that 8 months following the beginning of the fiscal year, the Supreme Salary Council finally made recommendations to the government just as it did for the past 2 years. Thus, the Council has adopted a bad habit of not respecting what is stated in Article 4.1 in the Law of 2009 on the minimum wage.

 

In the Supreme Salary Council, it’s mainly delaying tactics and plots going on. Management and the two so-called union representatives in the Council are dragging their feet so that management may continue to steal several months of workers’ wages. So, management will have more leeway to continue to pay workers measly wages. The 8-month delay is in the interest of management while prices of all basic items are going up and the Social Affairs Ministry does not urge them to respect Article 137 of the Labor Code stipulating that when the inflation rates increases more than 10%, workers’ wages must be adjusted. Today, the inflation rate has reached more than 14.5%. Therefore, the plot against the interests of workers has been consolidated.

 

We learn that the Council, after 8 months of delaying tactics, proposed a minimum wage of reference of 300 gourdes ($4.76) and the minimum wage for production to be 400 gourdes ($6.35) a day for the textile sector. It’s clear the 300/400gourdes will not solve our problems, especially with the increase in the cost of living, and our purchasing power is plummeting and the value of the gourdes is decreasing in relation to the dollar. For us, at the very least, the minimum wage should be500 gourdes ($7.94) to 1,000 gourdes ($15.87). However, management and their stool-pigeons in the state who get their orders from foreign donors say this will make Haiti non-competitive with other countries. We are denouncing these plot-laden arguments on the backs of workers spilling their blood in the factories.

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The Wage Struggle is Not Simply for a Higher Amount, but Against Exploitation

Report from Garment Workers, CODEVI Free Trade Zone, Ouanaminthe, Haiti

April 9, 2016

For the past 2/3 weeks at the CODEVI plant, there has been a wave of mobilization for wage adjustments.  Workers who sew T-shirt hemlines at the MD factory stood up to demand more money for the quota they were asked to do. They had a two-day strike.

This week, the workers who sew jean pants waists at the AM1 plant rose up to demand wage adjustments also.

After their first day of strike, CODEVI fired seven of them. It was when the workers returned, they found out that security agents stopped the seven from re-entering the factory. That activated a second day of strike in solidarity with the fired workers. The workers were in the factory already. However, when they learned that seven of them were fired (two fired based on article 42, and five fired based on article 37), they began to mobilize inside the plant. So the other factories joined in.

 

After lunch, the workers didn’t return to the plant but instead took to the streets in Ouanaminthe to protest and voice their demands.

They chanted all kinds of slogans. Some demanded wage increases, others demanded the return of the ONA insurance moneys taken from them each payroll (this is pension money). Problem is that the workers don’t see the necessity to put money away in a pension fund for later in life. They have no confidence in ONA insurance as a public institution. They protested on the streets of Ouanaminthe until they reached the offices of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor. In the negotiations that began, there was an agreement on quotas. But there was no change in articles 42 and 37 for the 2 fired workers. This was what motivated the workers to take the mobilization to the streets to denounce CODEVI for the decision to fire the 7 workers and the question of wages or quotas they are forced to do.

Following this great demonstration of strength on the part of the workers, as they returned the next day, CODEVI agreed to:

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Statements denouncing abuse of landless peasants in Corail, Haiti

The folowing was sent to us from Batay Ouvriye. On March 11, Batay Ouvriye took part in a press conference with JILAP to denounce the abuse against landless peasants in Corail, 5th Section Delice, Arcahaie at the hands of communal authorities in the area. Following are the statements made by three organizations at the press conference [Kreyol originals follow English translations]:

Statement of Batay Ouvriye (Workers Fight):

We, members of Batay Ouvriye, we are present at the table, first of all, because the organization of landless peasants laborers in Corail (OPTK) is an organization of Batay Ouvriye Arcahaie. We are denouncing the anti-organization character of all State authorities in the country, all the misdeeds and abuse imposed on Organized peasants and laborers at the hands of the three communal members, 5th Section, Delice, in the Arcahaie Commune, in particular a communal official called Joseph Pierre Rene.

They fear independent peasant laborers’ independent organizations, they cannot corrupt them in small NGO projects; the organized peasant laborers take courage in their two hands to raise and demand that what’s happening in the section be done according to their rights and interests. This is why Batay Ouvriye calls on the peasant laborer organizers to continue to consolidate their organizational work and actions that put forward their interests despite attempts from some to make them afraid. Batay Ouvriye will be present in a course of action to bring those bully communal officials to justice.

Long Live the struggle of the all organized Peasant Laborers in the country!

DOWN WITH A STATE POWER THAT SUPPORTS CRIMINAL STATE OFFICIALS!

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Landless peasants in Haiti denounce violence committed against them

PressConferenceMarch 11, 2016

Today, three representatives from the Landless Peasant Organization in Corail (OPTK) together with Justice and Peace organized a press conference to denounce the abuse and injustice imposed on them by the Administrative Council of Communal Section, 5th Section Delis, Arcahaie. Justice and Peace (JILAP) often works together with Batay Ouvriye in many different resistance and mobilization in Arcahaie.

In many rural areas in the country, administrative council members and other authorities supporting them, are assaulting small peasants who own a small lot or nothing at all (day laborers, agri-workers…) to steal their land or expel them from state-owned land they’ve occupied for years, or to dominate them as agri-workers who will work for multinationals soon to come in line with the imperialist plans to swamp us.

The Arcahaie examples show the LOGIC of the neo-liberal capitalist penetration that the imperialists want to push down the throats of workers, laborers, and the popular masses in general… with the help of Big Eaters and puppets of all stripes. This penetration is repressive, and violent. For that, just as the state leadership, there are repressive acts on the laborers.

The Arcahaie example is one, but there is a myriad of such acts in all rural areas in the country. THE STRUGGLE IS EVERYWHERE!  It is necessary for all comrades, laborers of every kind, progressives, and all combatants…to see clearly that the penetration is happening throughout the country. Against all of us!

THE STRUGGLE HAS JUST BEGUN!

Kreyol original text is below.

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From factory workers in Haiti on International Working Women’s Day

The following leaflet was distributed in front of the SONAPI industrial park (with textile and garment factories) for March 8:

Click here to see a brief video.

IMG_9321Comrades in the textile factories and other laborers:

 

March 8, 1910 – March 8, 2016 makes 106 years since Clara Zetkin, a German militant woman who had fire in her spirit, proposed a day to commemorate the struggles that women, the factory workers and laborers in general, carried out to change their working and living conditions. March 8th was chosen to remember the great strike that textile workers had in the year 1857 in the United States for better wages, working conditions and other rights such as voting rights for women in elections.

 

Therefore, March 8th is rooted in the struggles that working class women led.

Today, what is our reality as working class women in the factories? Where are we on the road to the emancipation of women everywhere on Earth? In our case, in the factories, we have some mileage to go yet. We are experiencing sexual harassment from the male supervisors and managers just to have a little bit more money to pay our rents or to pay food peddlers we owe. When we are pregnant, we go through great hardships. There are no chairs for us to rest our backs, no breaks for the two daily rest periods, no lunch period; they still fire us for being pregnant at work, no time to feed our babies as the Labor Code requires. They force us to wait until we give birth to pay us maternity leave. Except for one industrial park in the country, there is no nursery for our infants when we work.

 

So, the whole load of exploitation in the factories, and housework, is with our children on our backs. As women, we are fathers and mothers for our children. Our wages do not reflect the family needs.

 

March 8 is a day for us to reflect on all those questions concerning working class women and to make a commitment to change this situation we are facing together with other workers like us. It’s a day for us to take a resolution to enter the struggle to liberate ourselves as exploited women, in the great struggle to break the exploitation and domination by the bourgeoisie and their allies and really change the country. Thus, we shall have better living wages, health care or social services, conditions we are lacking as working class women today. For these reasons, workers must come into the struggle for real liberation and emancipation of society.

 

This is what the commemoration of this day, March 8th,requires of us; it’s not just a question of saying to women, ‘Happy March 8th;’ it’s a day of commemoration of the struggles of exploited and dominated working class women! Let’s stand up behind our demands!

LONG LIVE THE INDEPENDENT STRUGGLES OF WORKING CLASS WOMEN FOR THE EMANCIPATION OF WOMEN AND MEN!

LONG LIVE THE STRUGGLES OF THE WORKING CLASS WORLDWIDE!

MARCH 8, 2016

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The original leaflet in Kreyol:

Kanmarad Ouvriye/Ouvriyèz nan faktori rad yo ak lòt Travayè/Travayèz,

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13 Demands of Workers and Laborers for Haiti’s Transitional Government

STATEMENT FROM MAY FIRST UNION FEDERATION/WORKERS FIGHT

ENTE-SENDIKAL PREMYE ME/BATAY OUVRIYE      

FEBRUARY 7, 2016

(Kreyol version is below)

Today, February 7, 2016, we, workers, peasants, laborers in diverse economic categories in the country, raise our voices to warn that we will not continue to accept the conditions of life allotted to us. Since the big mobilization that ousted the repressive government that took away our rights in 1986, we hoped for changes in our conditions of life and work. However, unfortunately, our situation has worsened! In 2016, we continue to be under such a crisis that keeps us from seeing where our country is heading. But with our determination, we will continue to fight; we will continue to resist against all political maneuvers and threats pointing at our heads to take away our rights as workers.

As to where this big political crisis brings us today, the word of the day is ‘transition.’ We say, during the short time it will last, the roadmap of the transitional government must take into account the demands of the workers, peasants, and laborers in the formal economy, private and public, in the informal sector in urban and rural areas, so they can breathe. Among other things, we demand that the transitional government:

  1. Take measures to lower the cost of living, and the country should be put on the path to national production. The inflation rate at 12.5% is gobbling up the measly income we acquire in hardship or in other activities that barely help our families survive.
  1. Increase the base minimum salary for all categories of workers and set up a multi-sectorial tripartite entity to propose a social benefits program such as for food, transportation, housing, schools for our children or for ourselves. There must be a salary grid with a career ladder for public sector workers, and a social protection program which allows workers in the informal sector to benefit from a social security plan.
  1. Pay wages due to all public school teachers, teachers in the PSUGO program (Free Universal and Mandatory School Program) and all public sector workers.
  1. Challenge the impunity that management enjoys in violating the rights of workers in the factories, laborers in the production establishments for local markets, in government jobs, in the service and commercial sectors to form unions.

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Organized Textile Workers in Haiti Call for Taking the Streets

INTERVENTION by PLASIT-BO

(Platfòm Sendikal Izin Tekstil – Batay Ouvriye / Platform of Textile Plant Unions – Workers Fight)  –
PRESS CONFERENCE, JANUARY 21, 2016

PLASIT takes notice that it’s been three years since the Supreme Wage Council was created and it has not respected Article 4.1 of the 2009 Wage Law. The Council always makes its recommendations too late every year while the executive also never publish the decisions based on the council’s recommendations at the beginning of the fiscal year in October. They usually wait eight months to adjust the minimum wage either for textile workers and laborers in other sectors. Again, it’s been five months and no recommendations have been made. Its foot-dragging and delaying tactics going on without taking into account the cost of living is rising because of the devaluation of the gourde. In addition, the government substantially increases the presidential security budget and doubles the incomes of the provisional electoral council members who are organizing sham elections pushing the country into political crisis. So, those who are destroying the country are awarded while those who are creating wealth with their blood and sweat get nothing.

In this situation, PLASIT is denouncing firmly the delaying and absentee tactics of management in the supreme wage council; the government representative presiding over the council has not taken responsibility in demanding that management send in a substitute to stop the absentee tactic leading to the failure to adjust the minimum wage in a timely manner. Here we cannot forget some union representatives in the council are in cahoots with the bosses. So, we feel trapped!

Considering the prices of basic items don’t stop rising everyday where the economic and social situation of the country has gotten worse because of the grave political crisis rocking it. This causes the popular masses, and the workers in particular to be lost. We are reminding the wage council, it was since October First the wages were adjusted as stated in the 2009 Law. This time, we are not waiting eight months again to get the wage increase. Besides, Article 137 of the Labor Code stipulates when the inflation rate increases by 10%, the minimum wage must be adjusted. Today, the inflation rate is at 12%, the council has made no recommendations to help the workers and laborers breathe.

We should say that there are union representatives who have suggested a minimum wage increase of 375 gourdes ($6.25) a day and 475 gourdes ($7.92) a day as the production wage for textile workers. As such, management proposes in a subtle way a minimum wage of 255 gourdes. In PLASIT, we think those two proposals don’t meet the needs of the workers considering the socio-economic reality today. The owner of the corpse must watch the corpse!

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This Week! Cane Cutters of Dominican Republic and Garment Workers of Haiti Meet to Voice Their Demands

ORIGINAL“On what I earn, I can’t afford shoes… We are poor, poor, poor. There are days we go to bed without food.” – Batey worker from the film, “The Price of Sugar”

In the sugar plantations or bateyes of Dominican Republic, cane cutters often work barefoot. They can’t afford shoes. They can barely afford food, for that matter, despite the fact that they often work a minimum of 12 hours a day, doing the back-breaking work of cutting sugar cane by hand.

On the other side of the border that divides Hispaniola, Haitian garment workers in Port Au Prince recently blockaded a Korean factory because of bounced paychecks. For years, Haitian garment workers have been fighting wage theft and to be paid the inadequate legal minimum wage – which is still not enough to live off of, much less dignified.

“Whatever the product is – the pair of pants, the t-shirt – we are the ones producing it. We labor hard, and don’t get paid.” – Haitian garment worker of SOTA in Port Au Prince

This weekend Unión De Trabajadores Cañeros De Los Bateyes (Union of the Bateyes of Sugarcane Workers) and Sendika Ouvriye Takstil ak Abiman (SOTA) (Union of Textile and Garment Workers) will meet to discuss their common struggles against exploitation. Specifically, they are meeting about recent actions of the DR government to strip people of Haitian descent of their citizenship. This has mostly affected the poor – cane cutters, street vendors, and service laborers. In bringing attention and their perspective to this struggle, the groups intentions are to put down false divisions of racism and nationalism, with the goal of working together against their common enemy – the Haitian and Dominican ruling classes.

SOTA is affiliated with the autonomous workers organization, Batay Ouvriye (BO) (Workers Fight), which will host a series of meetings, a press conference, and direct action in Port Au Prince.

According to one event organizer, “They will be three Haitian cane workers, one Dominican cane worker and the coordinator of the union. The presence of the Dominican cane worker is to deny the nationalist option and to put the class situation in concrete relief, in contrast to the bourgeois organizations here who pretend to defend their ‘compatriots.'”

There is a long history of animosity between Haiti and Dominican Republic. Both nationalism and racism are deeply rooted. The DR won its independence, not from European colonialists, but from Haiti. Since then, Haitians living in the DR have faced discrimination, and thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent were massacred under Dominican dictator, Rafael Trujillo.

In 2013, the Dominican Supreme Court retroactively withdrew citizenship from anyone born in the DR to undocumented immigrants, with the provision that persons who submitted the proper documentation could apply for legal residency. The deadline for this application was summer 2015. However, many who submitted this paperwork, along with hundreds of dollars in fees, never received any notice or proper documentation from the government. Thousands of Haitians and Dominicans of Haitian descent left the DR, or were rounded up and dropped at the Haitian/Dominican border, often without being able to gather their belongings or to alert their families.

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Garment Workers Protest Nov/Dec 2015 in Port-au-Prince!

UPDATE:  On morning of December 9, 2015 garment workers in Port-au-Prince continue their protest against nonpayment of wages by the manufacturer. The Labor Minister came out to speak to them.

This is what an autonomous workers’ movement looks like!

 

Report from Haiti on November 30, 2015:

The Korean-owned garment factory gave paychecks with insufficient funds. The government promised the workers they would pay the workers themselves but they never did. This protest is going on right now in SONAPI industrial park.

The workers closed the factory by blocking the front with branches. Since this morning with posters in hand, they wanted to block the whole park but did not have the capacity for that. They are at present continuing the mobilization at the factory.

 

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Report from Batay Ouvriye (Workers Fight), Haiti

July 28 Events — Batay Ouvriye

To mark the 100th Anniversary of the 1915 American occupation, at Batay Ouvriye, we either organized many activities or participated in some in various localities in Haiti.

In Port-Au-Prince, because the workers were not off on July 28, we organized a meeting on Sunday July 26 in our hall near the airport. There was a photo exhibit we put together a long time ago that we invited comrades to see. It attracted a lot of curiosity. Then, we had a very animated conference-debate on the 1915 occupation, its national and international causes and all of its consequences on life in the country today, particularly from the standpoint of the position and interest of the working class. The conference-debate was based on the document “Popular Interest #3” that circulated among us.

On the day of July 28, in the afternoon, in front of SONAPI and many other areas of concentration of sweatshops in particular, we distributed a Batay Ouvriye (BO) document, which was a summary of the Popular Interest (EP-3) text.

On the morning of July 28, we participated, distributing the same summary, in a demonstration the MPDP (Popular Democratic and Patriotic Movement) organized starting from the Faculty of Ethnology to the Faculty of Human Sciences to mark the July 28 occupation and the current MINUSTAH presence in the country as a new occupation, no less. At the Faculty of Human Sciences, in the context of the event MPDP organized, one of our comrades presented a conference on misdeeds that during the first occupation were committed at the cultural level in particular. Likewise, a few weeks ago, we participated in a national and international conference MPDP organized on the epoch with a presentation-debate, this time, on the labor movement then.

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