Workers denounce voter coercion

Francisco Gómez, a member of the Telecommunications Industry Workers Union (SITCOM), appeared on El Salvador’s national television station TVES this morning to denounce coercive actions by maquila factory owners to convince workers to vote for the right-wing ARENA party. He reported that a factory owner in the San Marcos free trade zone invited workers to a breakfast with Norman Quijano, candidate for ARENA, and that after Quijano left, the boss made threats against workers.

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SITRASACOSI garment workers union protest at NEMTEX factory (Photo: United Students against Sweatshops)

Gomez also shared reports from workers at the NEMTEX factory that management posted ARENA posters in the bathrooms within the factories and made threats against employees. He noted that such threats are especially powerful against workers in the maquila industry who have so few economic resources. Salvadoran unions and international labor allies have continuously denounced the owners of NEMTEX garment factory – which makes products for brands including Hanes and UnderArmor – for labor right violations and health code violations.

After similar reports of employer coercion were filed on the February 2 elections, the Ministry of Labor pursued charges against 24 companies.

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