Philippines: J.Crew gets First Glory factory to agree to hold union elections following accusations of union-busting after layoff of 300 garment workers & union president
On 27 November 2020, 300 garment workers - including the factory's union president - were laid off at First Glory Apparel in the Mactan Economic Zone in the Philippines. Labour groups allege the layoffs are part of an effort by the factory to dismantle the union which has a pending petition for certification election. Since they were laid off, workers have been protesting for their reinstatement. On 30 November during a protest, the union president - Cristito Pangan - was arrested along with four others but has since been released without charge. J.Crew is named as the main buyer of First Glory Apparel.
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited J.Crew to respond. In its response, J.Crew said: "upon being made aware of this issue, we were successful in our efforts to get this factory to agree publicly and commit to holding union elections as required by local law." J.Crew said it was committed to ensuring the certification election takes place. The full response is included below.
In a rejoinder received by BHRRC, labour group Partido Manggagawa (PM) welcomed J.Crew's commitment and the initial steps it had taken, but called on J.Crew to use its leverage to call for the reinstatement of the 300 dismissed workers, including all union officers.
UPDATE: In March 2021, BHRRC received an update from PM that the union at First Glory lost the certification election, which it says was due to the dismissal of almost all the union officers and active members. Of the 300 terminated workers, 69 have filed a case at the labor court for illegal dismissal and union busting.