November 19, 2008: Maintrend, the factory in Jordan that is the scene of more labor-management disputes, actually has a history of abusing its workers. According to a 2006 investigation by National Labor Committee executive director Charles Kernaghan, at that time, the company did not meet basic human and labor rights standards.
“Workers would be forced to work fifteen and a half, sixteen and a half hours a day, seven days a week. They could use the toilet in the factory two or three times a shift at most—now this is the entire fifteen, sixteen-hour shift,” said Kernaghan. “You [have] to get permission to use the bathroom. If you spent one minute longer in the bathroom than they wanted you to, you could be fined an hours’ wages. If you fell behind your production goal you could be pushed, hit, slapped, yelled at, you could have your wages docked.”
BPSOS is working to verify whether or not the conditions have improved at all. Certainly, the fact that 60 Maintrend workers are pleading for permission to return to Vietnam is a bad sign.
You can read the rest of Kernaghan’s comments on Maine Public Radio here.