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485UNITE!--VICTORY at Los Angeles Hollander Strike!!!!!!

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  • SIUHIN@aol.com
    May 19, 2001
    • 0 Attachment
      UNITE!--VICTORY at Hollander!!!!!!
      Date: 5/18/01 3:41:29 PM Pacific Daylight Time
      From: isbilln@... (Bill Neal)


      May 18, 2001
      by Bill Neal, ISO

      After 10 hard weeks 450 Los Angeles garment workers have scored what they
      call a total victory in their strike. The company, Hollander Home Fashions,
      finally caved on attempts to hold down wages and granted $0.30 to $0.90
      raises per hour. The workers, represented by UNITE!, voted overwhelmingly to
      approve the new contract.

      More importantly to the workers, Hollander agreed to provide a 401K
      retirement plan. Many of the workers have been there 20 - 30 years and still
      make only $7 - 8.00/hour--hardly enough to save for retirement. The company
      once told the union they would rather fold than grant them a retirement
      plan. Not only did they give in, but they agreed to make co-payments on the
      plan--an indication of how badly they were beaten.

      Union officials say that the victory was largely because Hollander couldn't
      get out quality or quantity product with scab labor. Two South Central Los
      Angeles factories make pillows and comforters for JC Penney's, IKEA, WalMart
      and other retail stores. Almost no workers crossed the picket line, so the
      company turned to the union busting temp agency Labor Ready Inc to provide
      bus loads of replacement workers. The number of trucks leaving the factory
      was dramatically lower than pre-strike levels, and the union suspects than
      many were part full or loaded with empty boxes.

      Crucial to the victory were work stoppages at two other location owned by
      the company. Workers at a Pennsylvania plant walked out over similar issues
      on May 1. At a Hollander factory in Georgia an all African American
      workforce honored the strike by refusing to go to work. In a fantastic show
      of solidarity, Black workers resisted the companies attempts to divide them
      from their mostly immigrant counterparts in LA. That unity was key to the

      The news was reported to students from 5 different campuses at a
      demonstration early Friday morning. The students had gathered for rally at
      the offices of Labor Ready scab agency at 4:30am. Dozens of students greeted
      the news with cheers. Angry scabs started a fight, but the the ruckus
      couldn't dampen the pride and enthusiasm felt by all. Students plan to show
      up Monday morning to support the workers at a planned "victory march" back
      into the factories.

      This strike shows that, despite the hardships faced by low wage immigrant
      workers, if you fight back, and stay united, you can win. And that is a
      victory, not just for the Hollander workers, but for thousands garment
      workers and low wage immigrant laborers throughout the Los Angeles area.

      Anti-globalization activists also learned a lot from the workers. The
      strikers came to speak out on campuses and at the big "Stop the FTAA"
      demonstration at the US-Mexico border on April 21. Through their example,
      students discovered the power of linking the struggle against corporate
      greed in general, to the struggle of workers in their own communities. The
      win for the union was also a win for this movement.