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Leaflet Action for Almond Workers in Thailand

Workers in the Almond gold factory are being screwed. Can you help? - In response to this call for nationwide actions against Kay jewelers (see below) I'm looking for people that might want to do a leaflet action this Saturday morning, Dec. 1. That's the tentative target date, if there's enough interest.
Workers in the Almond gold factory are being screwed. Can you help?





In response to this call for nationwide actions against Kay jewelers (see below) I'm looking for people that might want to do a leaflet action this Saturday morning, Dec. 1. That's the tentative target date, if there's enough interest.





Kay Jewelers has outlets in the Lincolnwood Mall and in Niles. I don't have a car to scope out the sites, but the mall can be difficult because it's private property and leafleters would be thrown out -- unless it's a huge group. Whether this would be a noisy or mild protest depends on who wants to get involved. Some Students Against Sweatshops activists have expressed interest, as have a couple RPCAN [Rogers Park Community Action Network] members.





Let me know if you're interested, and your thoughts on the action.





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ALMOND CAMPAIGN UPDATE





On October 25, CLR alerted you that twenty workers at the Almond gold jewelry factory in Bangkok, Thailand were being sued for $1 million (USD) for speaking out about labor rights abuses they have suffered. In that Alert, we asked you to write letters to the Home Shopping Network, the fourth largest retailer of Almond jewelry in the U.S. Over 1,300 letters were written in all (that we know about)!





Last week, the Home Shopping Network (HSN) contacted CLR and asked us to stop the flow of letters to their offices! HSN promised to respond to your letters asking them to use their influence as an Almond retailer. The company has written a letter to the sole US distributor of Almond jewelry, Michael Anthony Jewelers, urging them to do something about the situation in Thailand.





At the same time, the situation at the Almond factory is getting steadily worse:





**In addition to the million dollar lawsuit against twenty union leaders and members, the Almond company has filed another criminal lawsuit against Junya Yimprasert of the Thai Labour Campaign.





**Almond still refuses to recognize the workers' union.





**Forty-five (45) workers, illegally fired for participating in union activity, have still not been allowed to return to their jobs.





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NEXT STEP: A WEEK OF LEAFLETING ACTIONS-AT JEWELRY STORES IN YOUR COMMUNITY-- NOV. 23-30





In response to continued requests from the Almond union, Campaign for Labor Rights is mobilizing its Rapid Action Network to leaflet Kay jewelry stores (or others, see list below) anytime from Friday, November 23rd through Friday, November 30. We ask all member organizations of the Rapid Action Network and other local groups to take part.





The letter writing phase of the U.S. portion of this campaign was a huge success! The Home Shopping Network responded in a positive way to your efforts. Now it's time to take the next step.





HSN is the fourth largest Almond retailer in the U.S. The largest retailer in the country is a company called Sterling, which owns nearly twenty jewelry chains (with over 1,000 outlets in all). The biggest chain is Kay Jewelers with over 600 outlets across the country. Go to www.Kay.com, and use the company's "store locator" to find outlets near you.





Other Sterling chains include: Osterman Jewelers, Shaw Jewelers, J.B. Robinson, Mark Jewelers, Morgan Jewelers, Weisfield Jewelers, and Belden Jewelers. CLR has full address lists of the outlets of each of these chains. Contact us if you want to know which ones are near you.





Use your leverage with these jewelry stores to end the union busting:





~ Rehire 45 fired workers!


~ Drop the lawsuit against 20 union leaders and supporters!


~ Drop the lawsuit against Junya Yimprasert of the Thai Labour Campaign!


~ Recognize and negotiate with the union!





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BACKGROUND FACT SHEET ON ALMOND LTD.





· Almond International and its subsidiary Almond (Thailand) Ltd. operate a jewelry factory in Bangkok, Thailand which employs roughly 600 workers and produces gold jewelry, including religious designs.





· Many of the products manufactured in the Almond (Thailand) factory are marked "Made in Israel." Unlike Thailand, Israel has a free trade agreement with the United States covering exports of gold jewelry.





· On January 2, 2001, Almond signed an exclusive U.S. marketing and distribution agreement with Mt. Vernon, NY-based Michael Anthony Jewelers, Inc.





· Michael Anthony is a leading designer and marketer of gold jewelry with over $145 million in sales in its 2000 fiscal year. The company's chief executives are Michael and Anthony Paolercio.





· Michael Anthony markets gold jewelry with religious and other designers to such major retailers as J.C. Penney and the Home Shopping Network.





· Workers at Almond (Thailand) Ltd. earn as little as 165 Thai baht [US$4] per day, and work a 6-day week. Workers say they are exposed to burns and dangerous fumes from molten metal and acids and are not provided with protective equipment or proper medical treatment when injured.


· In December 2000, after the company took away from workers customary compensation equal to two months pay, workers at Almond Thailand formed a union.


· Almond has refused to recognize the union. Immediately after workers registered the union with the Thai government, the company illegally fired 40 union leaders and other employees.


· On April 19, the Thai government's Labour Relations Commission ordered Almond to reinstate the terminated workers, but the company has so far defied the order. See:


http://www.thailabour.org/campaigns/almond/LRCorder.html


· On August 14, 2001, Almond filed a lawsuit against 20 Almond workers and their union for 46 million Thai Baht ($1 million) alleging damages caused by employees' attempts to publicize violations of worker rights at the factory,


and threatening the elimination of 250 jobs at the plant.


· On August 23, Almond workers requested the Thai Labour Ministry to investigate the unjust suspension of nine workers from the union committee who management disciplined for failing to tuck in their shirts --an alleged safety violation. The union claims that Almond has done little to address the real health and safety hazards to workers in the plant. The Almond Workers and their union are supported by the Thai Labour Campaign, a private non-profit organization based in Bangkok. For more information see: http://www.thailabour.org/campaigns/almond/factsheet.html





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Francis X. Tobin - Activist without Portfolio





"The fragrance always stays


in the hand that gives the rose." -- Hada Bejar

www.thailabour.org/campaigns/almond/LRCo...


 
 

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