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Help Haitian Workers Fight Against Stolen Wages

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$24 can replace a week's salary for workers resisting theft and exploitation!

Workers in Haiti have money deducted from already insufficient paychecks for what they've been told for years is health insurance coverage. The recent death of a young mother has proven that money has really been used to line the pockets of the factory owner, Alain Villard! 

The death of Sandra René, a decade-long employee of Alain Villard's Palm Apparel factory in Carrefour, exposed the bald corruption when OFATMA - the state insurance provider - refused to cover Sandra’s care. Despite ten years of biweekly paycheck deductions to cover healthcare, Sandra’s insurance card was invalid - not only had Villard not paid a cent of insurance payments to OFATMA for three years, he had also neglected to pay tens of millions of gourdes in medical bills. Villard has been pocketing the insurance payments despite the fact that he receives customs tax breaks under the HOPE Act on the condition that he provide social security and health benefits to workers.

When Sandra was turned away from Carrefour Hospital Center, her family approached Palm Apparel for a loan which would be paid back through Sandra’s wages - much like the stolen insurance payments. Palm Apparel refused to administer the loan. Her family struggled to raise the funds for her necessary treatment, but Sandra died at home four days later. She was six months pregnant with her first child. Her medical expenses amounted to around six hundred U.S. dollars.

Workers are already coping with the loss of wages brought about by COVID-19 factory closures. Even before work stoppages due to COVID dangers, these workers made little more than what it costs to get them to and from work. Almost 30% of their pay is taken out for taxes and services that they rarely benefit from. Sandra’s medical costs amounted to what some people in the U.S. pay per month for a car payment and insurance.

Most worked 6 days a week prior to COVID-19. The daily wage for workers is around $4, considering recent inflation; $24 can replace a week’s salary for a worker illegally fired, or for someone trying to stay home to protect their family from COVID; $100 can take care of a month’s salary so workers and their families can eat. Funds from donations will go directly to workers to be used not only in supporting their needs, but also in galvanizing those in factories in Port-au-Prince, Caracol, and Ouanaminthe, who must fight against wage theft as well. Every dollar makes an impact!

To show solidarity in this vital struggle, join our pressure campaign by going to Rapid Response Network. 
The unions have informed us that we can aid their struggle by sending direct messages to those they need to influence, and we have seen the power of this practice in previous pressure campaigns! Below are sample email templates that center the demands of workers depending on the distinct players: OFATMA, Villard, and MAST, the ministry in charge of paycheck deduction oversight.

Sample Email to Agabus Joseph Director of OFATMA 

Sample Email to Nicole Yolette Altidor of MAST 

Sample Email to Alain Villard Palm Apparel and Sewing International SA owner 

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Rapid Response Network
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Miami, FL

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