Garment Workers in Haiti Compensated by Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein After Factory Closes

Garment Workers in Haiti Compensated by Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein After Factory Closes

This U.S.-based brand owner took a step in the right direction.

A $1 million payout from PVH, the owner of such brands as Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, is being shared amongst 1,100 workers in Haiti after they were reportedly left in need by the closing of a factory.

According to The Guardian, the garment industry in Haiti is suffering from rising violence in the country, causing the Vald’or factory to close its doors after shipments and orders from North American brands were affected.

“It is very difficult to get a new job. I haven’t got one and many of the workers are still searching,” a former Vald’or worker said, adding that the company let its workers go without compensation.

PVH was sourcing from the Vald’or factory in Port-au-Prince. The corporation agreed to pay the costs of missed severance pay and pension after the involvement of the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) lobby group.

“As social responsibility and ethical behavior in the global fashion and apparel industry is inseparable from our values, PVH is committed to being part of the solution, even if we bear no direct responsibility,” said a spokesperson from the PVH New York headquarters.

The signed agreement marks the first time a solution has been implemented without the lengthy pushback of public pressure, allowing the company to cover responsibilities where one of its suppliers did not succeed.

“We, together with Centric, believe it was the right thing to do to share in the commitment of supporting the affected workers, especially given the current context in Haiti. We are pleased that we were able to provide financial restitution for the affected workers in Val D’or Haiti and participate in a comprehensive resolution to this unfortunate situation,” the company said.

Reportedly, most Vald’or workers are being compensated for over six months’ worth of wages, while some are receiving over a year’s pay. Some workers are putting their money toward launching businesses, supporting their families, and catching up on rent or other fees.

“It must be a basic standard for fashion brands to ensure that when workers don’t receive what they are legally owed, they are swiftly and fully compensated,” Thulsi Narayanasamy, director of advocacy for WRC, said.