To: Emanuel Chirico, CEO, PVH Corp and Melanie Steiner, Chief Risk Officer
Tell PVH not to cut and run from union supplier in Bangladesh!
I am deeply disappointed to hear about PVH’s decision to cut and run from the Global Trousers and Global Garment factories in Bangladesh. This decision has resulted in the closure of the Global Trousers factory, and the forced layoffs of nearly 1,300 workers. PVH’s actions will have deeply negative consequences not just for the workers of Global Trousers, but for thousands of workers throughout Bangladesh. I urge PVH to immediately restore orders to Global Garments and Global Trousers at levels comparable to its 2014 orders and ensure the reopening of the factory.
As you are aware, Global Trousers and Global Garments are the site of a recent breakthrough for labor rights in Bangladesh. In August 2014, the female acting president of the Global Trousers union was violently attacked, as part of an ongoing campaign by her employer to retaliate against the workers’ union. After PVH failed to take appropriately strong action in response, the employer orchestrated another attack against union leaders, this time at Global Garments, a sister factory to Global Trousers whose workers are represented by the same union federation. It was not until video of this attack became public, and PVH faced significant public pressure, that your company finally decided to take sufficient action to compel the factories to reverse course.
Global Garments and Global Trousers have since negotiated agreements with unions from both factories that effectively resolved the disputes and established a new framework for labor relations. This is an unprecedented resolution and was a major breakthrough in resolving one of the worst cases of anti-union violence we have seen in Bangladesh.
However, this progress has been undone by PVH’s decision to cut and run from these suppliers, instead of supporting them with continued orders. Although it is important that brands take strong action when their suppliers refuse to respect labor rights, it is equally important that brands take similarly strong action when previously recalcitrant suppliers decide to change course and act responsibly.
Workers at Global Garments and Global Trousers have overcome tremendous obstacles to achieve a major victory for labor rights in Bangladesh. But instead of supporting workers’ victory, PVH is abandoning them and their families by pulling its orders from these factories. PVH is also sending a message to garment workers across Bangladesh about the consequences they will face if they attempt to defend their workplace rights.
In a recent letter to these union leaders, PVH claimed that it did not want “to put the workers out of work callously and without consideration for them.” Yet that is exactly what PVH is doing. I strongly urge PVH to reverse this harmful decision and ensure respect for the rights of workers in Bangladesh.
Why is this important?
Apparel giant PVH has decided to cut and run from unionized factories in Bangladesh, resulting in potential forced layoffs of nearly 1,300 workers. PVH’s actions will have negative consequences not just for the workers of the Global Trousers factory, but for thousands of workers throughout Bangladesh.