NLC Interview with a Daisy Fuentes Worker in Guatemala

June 18, 2007

June 16, 2007

Ms. R has worked at the Fribo factory for 3 years and frequently works on the Daisy Fuentes clothing line.

NLC:  What are the biggest problems there at the Fribo factory?
Ms. R:  They treat us bad, very bad.  They yell and obligate us to work overtime. 

NLC: Why do they yell?
Ms. R:  They want to pressure us to work faster to make the production goal.  The supervisors and the boss, they use very bad words.

NLC: Do you often have to work overtime past 6:30?
Ms. R:  Yes often. 

NLC:  Till 10:00?  How often until 10:00?
Ms. R:  About 3 times a month....And Social Security—they deduct it, but then they don't pay, so we don't have access to health care.

NLC: Do they do that with everybody, or just some people?
Ms. R:  They do it to everybody.  They deduct a lot of money, but they don't pay it to IGSS.

NLC:  So what are the biggest problems?
Ms. R:  The treatment, that they don't pay us right, Social Security, and the right to....

NLC:  Regarding the bathrooms—can you go when you want to?
Ms. R:  They are dirty.  There's no soap, no toilet paper. 

NLC:  But you can go when you want to?
Ms. R:  You can go when you want, but if you go more than 1 or 2 times, they scold you

NLC: Do North American visitors come, to visit or inspect the factory?
Ms. R:  Yes, and when they are coming, they tell us not to tell them anything or they will take the work away.... to just say, 'Yes, yes, yes.' If they ask if we have clean water, if they treat us well... we just have to say, Yes...

NLC:  The supervisors tell you this?
Ms. R:  No, it is not the supervisors who tell us this, it is the bosses from the office who come and tell us.

NLC: Is the pay sufficient?
Ms. R:  "No it is not enough.  It is very little.  It does not cover our necessities.  We have children."

NLC: How many are not in agreement with conditions in the factory?  A group of you were brave enough to come to CEADEL.... but would you say that it is a group that are unsatisfied and others are more or less in agreement with how things are in factory, or would you say that the majority don't agree?
Ms. R:  The majority do not agree....especially with the treatment.  But people are afraid.  We are there out of need.  We need the jobs to support our families.

NLC: Do they search workers when they enter or leave the factory?
Ms. R:  Yes, they search us physically when we are entering and leaving....they search everybody, men and women. 

NLC: Why?
Ms. R: They don't let us bring anything sweets, no gum, or cell phones.  Some have tried to bring in cell phones, but they take them away and don't give them back.

NLC: How are the seats?  Are they chairs with backs or benches?
Ms. R:  They are pure wood, pure wood.  No cushions.  Some people try to make pads out of rags.

NLC: How is the air, is it clean and well ventilated, or is there dust?
Mr. R:  It is very dirty.

NLC: Are you allowed to talk while you are working?
Ms. R: No, they don't let you.  They scream at you.  Sometimes you are talking to a workmate about something related to work, and the supervisor sees you from far away and starts yelling at you.

NLC: Are there minors working in the factory?
Ms. R:  Yes, there are a lot of minors, 16-17 years old, they come in with false IDs.  The supervisors know it, but they don't care.
NLC: Are there any younger workers, like 13, 14, 15 year-olds?
Ms. R:  No, just 16, 17

NLC: Tell me about the pressure to produce.  Especially with the Daisy Fuentes lines, what is it like working on them
Ms. R:  There's a lot of pressure.  They yell hurry up, hurry up to finish the production, or you'll have to stay until 10:00.

NLC: How is it when you are producing the Daisy Fuentes clothing?  Is there anything different or distinct about it?
Ms. R:  We think the clothing is very pretty"

NLC: If workers wanted to organize a union, would they respect that right?
Ms R:  No....they'd fire them.

Fribo report