Philippines: Global brands respond to allegations of union busting at garment factory

Pulido Apparel workers protest outside the factory in San Luis, Batangas in the Philippines (Source: IndustriALL)

Workers at Pulido Apparel Company Inc - a Philippines subsidiary of the U.S based leather gloves and fashion accessories manufacturer, Fownes Bros & Co. - allege that Pulido Apparel has engaged in union busting and has blacklisted union officers and members from its San Luis factory in Batangas. Pulido Apparel supplies global brands including UGG (part of Deckers Brands), North Face and Timberland (both part of VF Corp) and J. Crew. 

In December 2018, shortly before collective bargaining was due to take place, Pulido Apparel closed its San Luis factory, blaming financial difficulties. However, less than a month later, Pulido Apparel began to rehire workers at the same factory, while allegedly blacklisting union officers and members. The workers claim the temporary shut down was an attempt to break the workers' union.

In January 2019, workers began a strike to call for the re-instatement of all workers, including activists who have participated in the strike and picket, and for collective bargaining negotiations to take place as soon as possible. 

In February 2019, we invited Fownes, Pulido Apparel and the brands to respond. Deckers Brands and VF Corp responded and their responses are included below. Fownes, Pulido Apparel and J. Crew did not respond. 

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Company non-response
25 February 2019

Fownes did not respond

Author: Fownes Brothers & Co. Inc.

Company non-response
25 February 2019

J. Crew did not respond

Author: J. Crew

Company non-response
21 February 2019

Pulido Apparel Company Inc. did not respond

Author: Pulido Apparel Company Inc.

Company response
18 February 2019

VF Corp's response

Author: VF Corp

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to respond.

VF’s Global Compliance Principles and corresponding auditing procedures serve as the foundation for our approach to worker safety, factory performance and worker well-being. These principles explicitly describe VF’s expectations around Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining:

VF Authorized Facilities shall recognize and respect the right of employees to freedom of association and collective bargaining. No employee shall be subject to harassment, intimidation or retaliation in their efforts to freely associate or bargain collectively.

We are in contact with factory management and are working to understand the situation and the specific allegations.

Company response
15 February 2019

Deckers Brands' response

Author: Deckers Brands

Deckers Brands has a robust Ethical Supply Chain Supplier Code of Conduct that we expect all of our factory partners, licensees, agents to abide by.  We train our partners on our Ethical Supply Chain Supplier Code of Conduct and access compliance with it on an annual basis.

Article
6 February 2019

Philippines: Garment workers accuse factory of union busting & demand reinstatement of blacklisted workers

Author: IndustriALL

"Timberland workers in the Philippines strike over union busting", 6 February 2019

Workers at Pulido Apparel Company Inc in the Philippines, which supplies global brands including Timberland, UGG, The North Face and J-Crew, have been on strike since 21 January after the company temporarily shut down its main factory to break the workers’ union... 

The strikers are demanding the re-instatement of all workers, including activists who have participated in the strike and picket, and for collective bargaining negotiations to take place as soon as possible. 

Pulido Apparel, a Philippines subsidiary of the U.S. based leather gloves and fashion accessories manufacturer, Fownes Bros & Co, has around 450 employees...

... a week before collective bargaining was about to begin, the company informed the union that the San Luis factory would be closing. It also dismissed union leaders and union members. Pulido then ordered the San Luis workers to claim their redundancy pay and sign a document saying they had quit the company...

In early December, Pulido began hiring selected San Luis machinists... However, all union leaders and active supporters of the union were banned in rehiring...

Read the full post here