Bras Burned to Protest Global Sweatshops
July, 2004, Chicago 440,000 workers strong, the newly merged UNITE HERE Union will conduct a massive march down Michigan Avenue and burn bras in front of the Congress Plaza Hotel to protest sweatshop conditions and worker exploitation around the globe.
Marchers will gather in front of the Congress Hotel, where workers have been on strike for over a year in response to wage and benefit cuts. Albert Nasser, a key investor in the Congress Hotel, is also the chairman of garment manufacturers Gelmart Industries and Kids International/Success Apparel. Workers at subcontractors who produce garments for Gelmart and Success Apparel in the Philippines and Swaziland allege sweatshop conditions that may violate national labor law and international labor standards.
Nasser's sweatshop empire literally spans the globe from Asia to Africa to Chicago, says Bruce Raynor, President of newly merged UNITE HERE. Hotel and garment workers are fighting together to win justice for workers around the world.
UNITE HERE members will hear the testimony of Joyce Kenene, a worker from Matsapha Knitwear, a Success Apparel subcontractor in Swaziland. Matsapha workers, who are themselves fighting for the right to form a union, have alleged wage and hour violations, unsafe working conditions and physical and sexual harassment at the factory. According to Ms. Kenene, Sometimes they insult us, they beat us. You know, calling us dogs, pigs, everything.
Source: Press Release