Artists & Writers in Solidarity with Garment Workers in Haiti: Raise the Minimum Wage!

The garment industry is a global web of nightmares, where workers don’t make enough to survive. Retailers and brands like Gildan, Walmart, The Gap, Levis, Cherokee, Sara Lee, Hanes and J.C. Penney claim that low wages for factory workers and service employees are necessary because consumers demand low prices, when really it is for their own high profits. For example, Walmart made $15.4 billion in 2011.

The conditions for Haitian sweatshop workers are among the harshest and most abusive in the world. Haitian garment workers receive the industry’s lowest wages in the hemisphere: 200 gourdes, or less than $5 per day. Factories have been refusing to comply with even the totally inadequate minimum wage adjustment to 300 gourdes, which was made into law in 2009.

The State Salary Council of Haiti is set to recommend a new minimum wage at the end of November. The autonomous workers organization Batay Ouvriye (Workers Fight) is mobilizing to demand 500 gourdes ($11.50) per day—the minimum required for a family to survive.

Pitch Haitians garment workers

Ramses Morales Izquierdo

Garment industry is a global nightmare for workers who debates between their low wages and prices of the market.

Struggles of workers for decent wages and working conditions, plus the right to organize, are constantly met with severe punishment. We must not passively ac-
cept the presence of products on store shelves without understanding—and actively opposing—the harsh conditions of exploitation and repression under which they were produced.

As artists and writers, we raise awareness and help shape public opinion about social and political issues. We declare solidarity with garment workers in Haiti who are demanding a wage that meets their needs, that allows them to feed, house, clothe, and educate themselves and their families.

We are not calling for boycotts, and companies should not pull out of Haiti or anywhere else—workers depend on their jobs for survival. Wherever these companies do business, we demand that they face their responsibilities to the workers, who make the goods that provide these companies with enormous profits. They should meet with autonomous unions and workers’ organizations, and ensure that their subcontractors respect workers’ rights, provide safe conditions, pay a living wage, and pay reparations for stolen wages.

Signed:

Emilio Agra, editorial cartoonist (Venezuela), Ultimas Noticias,* LaIguana.tv*

Irtishad Ahmad, writer (FL, USA), Amar Chokhe Bkattor (1971: My Perspective)

Lalo Alcaraz, cartoonist (CA, USA), La Cucaracha

Anthony Arnove, writer/editor (NY, USA), Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal

Inez Barlatier, musician (FL, USA), Kazoots

Tarek Benbaba, cartoonist/illustrator (Morocco)

Clay Bennett, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist (TN, USA), Chatanooga Times Free Press*

Ruben Bolling, cartoonist (NY, USA), Tom the Dancing Bug

Lynette Bondarchuk, artist/Artistic Director (AB, Canada)

Matt Bors, cartoonist (OR, USA), Life Begins at Incorporation

Keith Brown, cartoonist (MO, USA)

Malia Bruker, filmmaker (PA, USA), Chase, Heirloom

Daniel Clós Cesar, cartoonist (Brazil)

Sunnerberg Constantin, cartoonist (Belgium)

Chad Crowe, cartoonist (OR, USA)

Orlando Cuéllar, cartoonist/illustrator (Colombia)

Julian Del Rio, musican (FL, USA), Terrorist (the band)

Spiros Derveniotis, cartoonist (Greece)

Barry Deutsch, cartoonist (OR, USA), Hereville

Tim Eagan, cartoonist (CA, USA), Deep Cover

Edmonton Small Press Association/ESPA (AB, Canada)

Stephen Elliott-Buckley, poet (BC, Canada), Politics, Re-Spun

Arcadio Esquivel, televison producer/editorial cartoonist (Costa Rica)

Mark Fiore, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist (CA, USA)

Simone Frosini, cartoonist (Italy)

Garrincha, cartoonist (FL, USA)

Jean Gouders, cartoonist (Netherlands)

Steve Greenberg, cartoonist (CA, USA), Ventura County Reporter*

Lisa Hartman, idependent filmmaker (CO, USA)

Ramses Morales Izquierdo, cartoonist (Cuba)

Ron Jacobs, writer/journalist (HI, USA), The Way the Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground

Dahr Jamail, writer (USA), Beyond the Green Zone

Derrick Jensen, writer (CA, USA), Endgame

Lierre Keith, writer (CA, USA), The Vegetarian Myth

Tom Kerr, cartoonist (NE, USA), Despicable Jerks

Keith Knight, cartoonist (CA, USA), The Knight Life

John Kovalic, cartoonist (WI, USA), Dork Tower

Peter Kuper, cartoonist/illustrator (NY, USA), Spy vs. Spy

Ivan L., rapper (FL, USA)

Erica Landau, journalist/editor (FL, USA)

Angelo Lopez, cartoonist (CA, USA), Philippines Today*

Franklin Lopez, filmmaker (QC, Canada), submedia.tv

Djamel Lounis, cartoonist (Algeria)

Swapan Majhi, writer (USA), Alo Adharer Kheya (Boat of Light and Dark)

Sophia Mamalinga, cartoonist (Greece)

Popa Matumula, cartoonist (Tanzania), Mzalendo Weekly*

Stephanie McMillan, cartoonist/writer (FL, USA), Capitalism Must Die!

Kat Merkin, singer/musician (FL, USA)

Joe Mohr, cartoonist (USA)

Cory Morningstar, writer (ON, Canada), The Art of Annihilation

Kevin Moore, cartoonist/librarian (OR, USA), Wanderlost

Victor Ndula, cartoonist (Kenya), The Star*

Scott Neigh, writer (ON, Canada), Resisting the State: Canadian History Through the Stories of Activists

John Newlands, musician/songwriter (ON, Canada)

Stephen Notley, cartoonist (WA, USA), Bob the Angry Flower

Kaan Ocbe & Tyler Lewis, musicians (FL, USA), Unity Rise

Eray Özbek, cartoonist/architecht (Turkey)

Kate Salley Palmer, cartoonist/illustrator (SC, USA), Warbranch Press

Jeff Parker, cartoonist (FL, USA), Dustin

Denver Pereira, designer/cartoonist (Sri Lanka), Daily Mirror*

Carmen Pérez and Julian Loayza, cartoonists (Spain), McArroni

Dan Perkins (Tom Tomorrow), cartoonist (NY, USA), This Modern World

Eric Peterson (Nacho Nova), cartoonist (TX, USA), You Guys Are My Friends

Edie Pistolesi, Professor of Art, California State University Northridge*

Joel Pett, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist (KY, USA), Lexington Herald-Leader*

Cindy Procious, fine artist (TN, USA)

Ted Rall, cartoonist/writer (NY, USA), The Anti-American Manifesto

Rob Rogers, cartoonist (PA, USA), Pittsburgh Post-Gazette*

Tjeerd Royaards, cartoonist/Editor-in-Chief (Netherlands), Cartoon Movement

Bhajan Sarker, writer (Canada), Bibhoktir Satkahon (A Tale of Divide and Rule)

Amy Shaw, author (FL, USA)

Trish Sheldon, singer/songwriter (FL, USA), Blue Sky Drive

Richard Shipps, multi-discipline artist (IL, USA)

Estelle Carol & Bob Simpson, cartoonists (IL, USA)

Andy Singer, cartoonist (MN, USA), No Exit

Jen Sorensen, cartoonist (TX, USA), Slowpoke

Ed Stein, cartoonist (CO, USA), Freshly Squeezed

Marlon Stern, musician (CA, USA)

Syed Tarik, poet (Bangladesh), Chhuri Haate Ashwa Chhute Jay (The Horse Rushes With a Sword)

Ann Telnaes, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist (Washington DC, USA), Washington Post*

Seth Tobocman, cartoonist/illustrator (NY, USA), World War 3 Illustrated*

Jeff Treves, animator/illustrator/Creative Director (Turkey)

Trik, illustrator/cartoonist (Netherlands)

Gianfranco Uber, cartoonist (Italy)

Kiki Wainwright, singer/writer (FL, USA), Nan Tan Malouk...istwakont Ak Pwezi

Shannon Wheeler, cartoonist (OR, USA), Too Much Coffee Man

David L. Wilson, writer (NY, USA), co-author The Politics of Immigration: Questions & Answers

Masheka Wood, cartoonist/illustrator (NY, USA)

Yankee Roses, folk band (FL, USA)

Zunar, cartoonist (Malaysia), recipient of Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award (CRNI)*

* Affiliations listed for identification purposes only