Contact: Rachel Cohen, racohen78 [at] gmail.com
Washington- Global Labor Justice-International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ-ILRF) today called on the Biden Administration to prioritize labor rights and decent work and assure that all investments they coordinate in Central America advance the rights and opportunities of all workers.
GLJ-ILRF is also calling on the Administration to hold corporations doing business in the region accountable to the highest labor standards, including living wages and strong workers’ rights provisions like freedom of association, anti-retaliation provisions, health, safety and social protections. Additionally, they must include enforcement, monitoring, and complaint mechanisms that hold corporations accountable to both U.S. and Central American governments.
“When the Biden Administration first announced the root causes strategy GLJ-ILRF worked with trade union partners across Central America to compile key recommendations. Any actions and policies on the root causes of migration have to be measured against real material improvements to the lives of workers in Central America,” said Jacob Horwitz, GLJ-ILRF Field Director. “The case of workers organizing at multinational fruit company Fyffes plc is a test of these policies and they are failing. Fyffes is one of the emblematic cases detailed in the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR) 2012 complaint—filed by the AFL-CIO and 26 Honduran trade unions and civil society organizations. However CAFTA provisions have failed to provide a solution for workers.”
In 2022, after 3 long years of negotiations, Fyffes refused to sign an agreement recognizing international labor standards for up to 6,500 Honduran melon pickers leaving workers with few other options but to mobilize and fight or migrate to the US, which many did.
The workers, members of El Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Agroindustria y Similares (STAS), have called out Fyffes for turning their back on workers and negotiations, demanded an end to discrimination in hiring and called for intervention from the Honduran government to enforce the law and protect their rights. Workers are organizing despite the history of threats and retaliation and remain steadfast in their fight to improve conditions.
Global Labor Justice – International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ – ILRF) is a non-governmental organization that works transnationally to advance policies and laws that protect decent work; to strengthen freedom of association and workers’ ability to advocate for their rights; and to hold corporations accountable for labor rights violations in their supply chains.