THAI JEWELRY WORKERS FIGHT SWEATSHOP CONDITIONS,
UNION-BUSTING IN BANGKOK FACTORY PRODUCING FOR NEW YORK FIRM,
AUGUST 8: UNION LEADER FOLLOWED FROM PLANT AND BEATEN
The 600 workers at the Almond (Thailand) Ltd. gold jewelry factory in
Bangkok, Thailand face hazardous conditions from molten metal and fumes
while earning as little as $4/day - far below a living wage. Last December,
when workers organized a union, Almond responded by firing over 40 union
leaders and other employees. Almond produces religious and other jewelry
that is marketed and distributed in the U. S. by Michael Anthony Jewelers,
Inc., a Mt. Vernon, NY-based firm whose major customers include J.C. Penney
and the Home Shopping Network.
On August 8 in Bangkok, a union leader from the plant was followed and
beaten with a steel pipe by unknown assailants after leaving the Almond
factory. That same day in Mt. Vernon, clergy and activists from the Greater
New York Labor-Religion Coalition, AFL-CIO, UNITE, Campaign for Labor
Rights, National Labor Committee and United Students Against Sweatshops,
joined Junya Yimprasert of the Thai Labour Campaign in delivering an appeal
from Almond workers to Anthony Paolercio, President of Michael Anthony
Jewelers, asking him to take responsibility for ending violations of workers
rights at the factory.
ACTION REQUESTED-Email or Fax Michael Anthony Jewlers:
Please write to Anthony Paolercio, President of Michael Anthony Jewelers,
expressing your concern about ongoing violations of workers rights at the
Almond (Thailand), Ltd. factory in Bangkok, whose products his company
distributes, and demand that he take responsibility for ending these abuses.
Remind Paolercio that on August 8, he promised Ms. Junya Yimprasert of the
Thai Labour Campaign and Rabbi Michael Feinberg and Fr. Earl Kooperkamp of
the Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition that he would address this
issue with Almond management. Let him know him that since then, we have
learned that a union leader from the plant was followed and beaten after
leaving the factory in Bangkok. This situation requires his immediate
attention and may escalate if not quickly resolved.
Below is a sample of the kinds of letters that need to be sent to the
President of Michael Anthony Jewlers to pressure him to follow through on
his promise to address the issues of labor rights violations with the
management of the Almond factory. Please cut and paste this letter into and
email or fax and send it to President Anthony Paolercio, or write Paolercio
a letter using your own words.
Via fax: 1-914-664-4884
Via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org,
Anthony Paolercio Jr., President
Michael Anthony Jewelers
115 S. MacQuesten Pkwy
Mount Vernon, NY 10550
Dear Mr. Paolercio,
This to request your urgent attention to violations of workers' rights
reported at the Almond (Thailand) Ltd. jewelry factory in Thailand, whose
products your company markets and distributes.
The Thai government has ordered Almond to reinstate 41 employees who were
allegedly fired in retaliation for organizing a union to improve working
conditions in the company's Bangkok factory. Workers at this factory
reportedly are paid as little as $4 dollars a day and are exposed to
hazardous conditions from molten metal and fumes.
As you know on August 8, you promised Ms. Junya Yimprasert of the Thai
Labour Campaign and Rabbi Michael Feinberg and Fr. Earl Kooperkamp that you
would address this issue with Almond management. Since then it has been
reported that a union leader in the Almond plant was followed and beaten
after leaving the factory in Bangkok.
As the president of a company that is the sole US distributor of Almond's
products, you have a responsibility to help end abusive treatment of the
workers who make them. Many of the companies that do business with you,
such as J.C. Penney, have policies that prohibit their vendors from engaging
in practices that mistreat workers - including violating their right to
This situation requires your immediate attention. Consumers and retailers
have a right to know that when products they buy are made under conditions
that are abusive to the workers who manufacture them. Please contact Almond
president Jonathon Mandelbaum and urge him to reinstate the fired workers,
and respect the rights of his employees in Thailand.
Michael Anthony Jewelers, Inc., Almond International, and Workers in
- Almond International and its subsidiary Almond (Thailand) Ltd. operate a
jewelry factory in Bangkok, Thailand which employs roughly 600 workers and
produces gold jewelry, including religious designs.
- On January 2, 2001, Almond signed an exclusive U.S. marketing and
distribution agreement with Mt. Vernon, NY-based Michael Anthony Jewelers,
- Michael Anthony is a leading designer and marketer of gold jewelry with
over $145 million in sales in its 2000 fiscal year. The company's chief
executives are Michael and Anthony Paolercio.
- Michael Anthony markets gold jewelry with religious and other designers to
such major retailers as J.C. Penney and the Home Shopping Network.
- Workers at Almond (Thailand) Ltd. earn as little as 165 Thai baht [US$4]
per day, and work a 6-day week. Workers say they are exposed to burns and
dangerous fumes from molten metal and acids and are not provided with
protective equipment or proper medical treatment when injured.
- In December 2000, after the company took away from workers customary
compensation equal to two months pay, workers at Almond Thailand formed a
- Almond has refused to recognize the union. Immediately after workers
registered the union with the Thai government, the company illegally fired
40 union leaders and other employees.
- On April 19, the Thai government's Labour Relations Commission ordered
Almond to reinstate the terminated workers, but the company has so far
defied the order. See:
- The Almond Workers and their union are supported by the Thai Labour
Campaign, a private non-profit organization based in Bangkok. For more
information see: http://www.thailabour.org/campaigns/almond/factsheet.html