Gildan Activewear is a vertically-integrated marketer and manufacturer of premium quality branded basic apparel. The Company manufactures premium quality basic T-shirts, sport shirts and sweatshirts for sale in the wholesale imprinted sportswear market. The Company sells its products as blanks, which are ultimately decorated by screenprinters with designs and logos for sale to consumers. Gildan has announced plans to sell its products into the mass-market retail channel, in addition to the screenprint market. In conjunction with this strategy, Gildan is expanding its product-line to include underwear and athletic socks.Gildan is North America's largest T-Shirt manufacturer, and it is Canadian.
After closing its yarn spining plant in Quebec and outsourcing the work offshore, Gildan exports its T-Shirt manufaturing to the Caribbean/Central American Free Trade Zones.
This year they agreed to re-hire fired union workers in their new factory operations in the Houndouras leading the Canadian Anti-Sweat Shop Activist group Maquila Solidarity Network to suspend their campaign against Gildan.
Gildan then launched a massive new advertising and promotional camapaign for its products helping it push up its sceond, third and fourth quarter profits. Coincidence I think NOT. No word on what happened to the workers in Quebec who lost their jobs at Gildan. No compensation just the unemployment centre for them.
And while the Anti-Sweat Shop campaigners have been satisfied with their sop from Gildan, the Anti-War movement has not. They have focused on Gildan's sweat shop operations taking advantage of the current Canadian/UN occupation of Haiti in the name of Empire.
Building an Antiwar Movement in Canada
The single biggest impediment to getting people mobilized around war and occupation issues is the widespread perception that Canada’s hands are clean in the world; that unseemly regime changes are things carried out by George W. Bush and that at worst we are benevolent bystanders or well-meaning peacekeepers coming in after the fact.
Perhaps one under-utilized way to get around this pervasive myth is to highlight the blatant war profiteering of massive Canadian corporations. While the sordid operations of the likes of Exxon and Halliburton are internationally known, equally rapacious war companies based north of the 49th parallel are getting away with scant attention. The two that stand out are Gildan Activewear and SNC-Lavalin.Gildan Activewear is a massive garment manufacturer, controlling 40% of the North American t-shirt market. Following the coup against Aristide, and the de facto government’s decision to overturn minimum wage increases brought in by the Lavalas Party government, Gildan announced that it would be moving some operations from Honduras to Haiti. The company is currently engaged in a massive publicity campaign, with ads on hundreds of bus shelters in Vancouver proclaiming the sweatshop label ‘A part of your life’. It has been speculated that they are building their public profile with an eye to winning the Vancouver 2010 Olympics clothing contract. The cases of Gildan and SNC are not unique in terms of Canadian corporations, but only two of the most blatant examples that belie the quaint notion of a harmless, innocent big business community, and the related myth of a political policy pursuing lofty, disinterested ‘humanitarian’ objectives.
Again Liberal trade policies are a direct cause of the offshoring of Quebecs clothing industry and Gildans success. And with Gildan they are further compounded by the companies involvement with the Canadian Occupation of Haiti. Welcome to the world of global capitalism.
This is a report from Haiti about Gildan detailing the union busting anti worker situation currently occuring in the offshore garment industry in that country. I have to ask MSN why it has been sucked in by Gildan and halted its information and pressure campaign for the rights of Gildan workers? Simply because the company has ameliorated the conditions of some of its workers at the expense of others? This seems to be the case.
"Excerpts from Batay Ouvriye News Bulletin No. 2, originally published in Creole circa September/October 2005
At the GILDAN factory in Tabarre, five workers were fired without reason. But on closer scrutiny, we note that these are the workers who played a role in fighting for the factory to pay transportation to and from the factory (which is actually stipulated in the Labor Code!). At first, Richard Coles, a close Aristide ally, was the main production responsible for Gildan in the country. But Coles lost the contract and Apaid is the one who came to play this role. Presently, several bourgeois in the assembly industry are producing for Gildan. All use the module production to exploit the workers, as described above, with repressive control embedded in the production structure itself… Gildan, however, is the most sadistic exploiter of the module production systems. That’s why struggle at Gildan is a concentration amongst others that has great importance presently.