On March 2, 2016, the Honduran Supreme Court ordered Canada-based Gildan Activewear to immediately give a Honduran sweatshop worker Lilian Castillo her job back. Lilian was fired by Gildan in February 2013 when she was unable to keep up the pace of her teammates on Gildan’s assembly line.
For days, the Honduran Women’s Collective (CODEMUH by its Spanish acronym) has been protesting along with Lilian outside of Gildan’s factory in the town of Choloma. They are demanding that Gildan abide by the Supreme Court decision immediately.
With a garment production quota of 500 dozen per day, Lilian conducted thousands of repetitive movements during each 12-hour work shift, sewing the sleeves on Gildan shirts. Slowly and inevitably as a result of the work conditions, she developed tendinitis in her left shoulder. As a result, she faced harassment inside the factory, as she was unable to keep up Gildan’s demanding pace. Her supervisors often refused to excuse her from the assembly lines when she complained of extreme pain and inflammation in her shoulder.
Hoping to keep her job and medical benefits, for years Lilian battled the underfunded Honduran healthcare system to get medical evidence of and treatment for her illness which would have forced Gildan to relocate her to a less physically demanding position in the factory. Wanting to disassociate themselves from a worker with musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) Gildan fired Lilian. As a result, Lilian lost one of her only employment opportunities (especially since her work-related injury hinders her getting another job), and the important medical benefits she receives as a Gildan worker. CODEMUH has defended dozens of sweatshop workers suffering from work-related MSDs that are fired by U.S. and Canadian companies hoping to stifle any responsibility for the conditions in the factories that give rise to such health harms.
Today, Lilian and CODEMUH demand that Gildan put their so-called “corporate social responsibility” policies to practice. Together with CODEMUH, Lilian fought her case for three years in Honduras courts, all the way to the Supreme Court. On March 2, 2016, the Supreme Court ordered Gildan to immediately reinstate Lilian. To date, Gildan has not compiled and Lilian has a court date tomorrow (Wednesday, May 25) where she will find out whether Gildan will reinstate her.
Call, Email and Tweet Gildan Activewear (@GildanOnline; #GildanActivewear) and demand that:
1. Gildan immediately (not in two months, not in one year, but NOW) give Lilian Castillo her job back;
2. Place Lilian in a position in the factory that does not exacerbate her tendinitis and that meets the labor reinstatement standards as outlined and ordered by the Honduran courts plural;
3. Compensate Lilian for all unpaid salaries since February 2013 when she was fired, as per the court [’s resolution] order might be clearer for North American readers.
As CODEMUH and Lilian say: WE WANT JOBS, BUT WITH DIGNITY!
Send emails to and call:
Gildan Senior Vice President of Public and Corporate Affairs
Vice-President, Corporate Communications
Gildan Media Relations- Head Office (Montreal, Canada)
Claudia Sandoval, Vice President, Corporate Citizenship
Gildan Media Relations – Honduras
Please send copies of emails to:
Karen Spring, firstname.lastname@example.org
Honduran Women’s Collective (CODEMUH), email@example.com