Great news from the National Labor Committee! Their campaign to clean up the Honduran factory where hip-hop artist P. Diddy's Sean John clothing line is manufactured has scored some major successes already. All credit goes to the remarkable women who were brave enough to stand up against the management of the factory, risking their jobs, suffering humilation and intimidation, and even being branded terrorists by Honduran officials.
The rally outside the Sean John store in Manhattan was also a giant success, with over 300 union members, students, and supporters showing up at 5pm on Tuesday, 9 December. NLC director Charlie Kernaghan tells me that discussions with P. Diddy's company are showing some promise. We hope at some point, P. Diddy will actually meet with the NLC and take this opportunity to personally lead a global campaign against abusive labor practices.
Among the improvements the workers at the SETISA factory in Honduras have already secured:
The union has been recognized
The chief supervisor and her assistant -- who had been among the most verbally abusive and who implemented some of the most egregious rules at the factory -- have both been fired
New workers are no longer required to take pregnancy tests as a condition of employment
Air conditioning is now in use so the plant is no longer intolerably hot
The bathrooms have been cleaned, bathroom passes are no longer required, and women are no longer subject to searches upon entering the bathrooms
The factory's water system had been upgraded and the water quality is no longer substandard
Women are now receiving overtime pay
The factory's management is finally negotiating with workers for benefits, including health care for the women and their children
Now I hope Sean "P. Diddy" Combs takes this momentum and runs with it. With very little effort, he really could make human rights hip.