Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Special Holiday Appeal from MSN

Dear Friends and Supporters,

As we send this Special Holiday Appeal to you, workers at the
Vaqueros Navarra blue jean factory in Tehuacan, Mexico are wondering
whether they will have a job and the hope of a better future when
they return from their holiday break.

Can you donate $50, $100, or $250 for apparel workers' rights?

For the past six months, these young women and men have been fighting
for a very simple objective - the right to be represented by a union
of their own free choice. For doing so, over a hundred of them have
been fired and many more have been pressured to sign resignation
letters. Those that remain were told the factory would be closed if
they failed to vote for a company-supported union.

Throughout their long and difficult struggle, MSN has been mobilizing
international support for the workers and for their right to be
represented by an independent union rather than an "official union"
endorsed by their employer.

On November 23, I was privileged to act as an official observer of
the union representation vote. Rather than voting by secret ballot,
the workers had to go one-by-one to a table where factory management
watched them as they publicly declared which union they supported.

Despite this blatantly undemocratic process, the workers, most of
whom are young, indigenous women, stood up to their employer and
voiced their support for the independent September 19 Union.

After celebrating this precedent-setting victory with our friends in
Tehuacan, we have had to turn our attention to the more difficult
task ahead of convincing the employer to accept and negotiate with
the new union, rather than closing the factory. Preserving this
fragile victory will require months more hard work.

But funding for this kind of concerted campaign work is drying up.
This year, for example, MSN's largest single funder in 2007 advised
us it could not continue to support our work because labour rights is
no longer one of its priority focuses. To carry out these vitally
important solidarity campaigns, we count on your support now more
than ever.

We know you may already be a regular contributor to MSN. If so, we're
asking you to make a special gift this holiday season - above and
beyond that contribution - to help workers who make our holiday gifts
win decent wages and working conditions.

Please consider making a generous holiday contribution and becoming a
sustaining monthly donor to MSN.

Yours truly; Lynda Yanz, Coordinator

P.S. Unlike charitable organizations that issue tax receipts, much of
our work is deemed "advocacy," and we are unable to provide a tax
receipt for your donation. This limit on our fundraising options
makes your donation all the more crucial. Please donate today.

The Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN) is a labour and women's rights
organization that supports the efforts of workers in global supply
chains to win improved wages and working conditions and a better
quality of life. | (416) 532-5854 |
606 Shaw Street, Toronto, ON; M6G 3L6 Canada

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