March 22 - April 8, 2009
Erlinda Elizabeth Gutierrez Reyes worked 15 years in the Honduran
garment industry before becoming an organizer and educator for garment
workers through a Honduran labor federation. Elizabeth is
also a nurse. She has extensive knowledge of Dickies de Honduras, a
factory in Choloma, Honduras that makes uniforms for the popular
Dickies brand. Dickies supplies many U.S. cities and states with work
pants, but behind the label is a history of repression of human rights and labor rights. Dickies garment
workers from Pakistan to Mexico to Honduras report poverty wages,
forced and uncompensated overtime, and blacklisting.
Maritza Vazquez (Midwest, March 23-29), has worked for
five years as a machine operator at Propper International's Lajas Plant
in Puerto Rico. Propper is a major producer of military and law
enforcement apparel. Maritza and her fellow employees are organizing to
improve conditions in their factory, and Maritza is a leader of the
Rafael Irizarry (West Coast, March 30-April 8), has worked for five years as a machine operator at Propper International's Las Marias plant in Puerto Rico. Propper is a major producer of military and law enforcement apparel that supplies San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington State, among others. He is a lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against Propper for damages related to unpaid work, alleging that the company did not grant legally required paid sick days and vacation days. Workers in the lawsuit also claim that Propper reduces employees' agreed-upon hourly wages when workers' production falls short of quota.
Bob Chesebro (Milwaukee and Madison events only) is the president of Wigwam Mills, a reputable family-owned sock manufacturer in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, founded there in 1905 by his grandfather. Workers at the Wigwam plant are represented by UFCW Local 147T. Bob remains committed to U.S. manufacturing even as he has seen competitors move their production overseas.
Thank you to our sponsors and hosts for making this tour possible.
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