WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Labor Deputy Undersecretary for International Affairs Thea Lee issued the following statement regarding the murders in Choloma, Honduras, on June 24, 2023:
“The U.S. Department of Labor expresses its sincere condolences to the families of the victims — including four trade union leaders — of the June 24, 2023, killings in Choloma, Honduras, and to all the people of Honduras who have experienced violence. We express our solidarity with the surviving union leaders and members from Sindicato de Trabajadores de Gildan San Miguel, the Network of Honduran Maquila Unions, and the Central General de Trabajadores.
“The four trade union leaders represented maquila workers at a factory that, just prior to the events of June 24, announced its impending closure. The layoffs form part of a troubling global trend in a sector that is highly unionized in Honduras. We recognize and applaud the critical work of the SITRAGSAM leadership in striving to represent and negotiate on behalf of the affected workers at the facility.
“We appreciate the Honduran government continuing its thorough and transparent investigation into the motive and responsibility for the attack, including investigating any possible links to the victims’ union activity. We have confidence that the victims’ employer will negotiate the facility closure with the remaining union leaders in good faith and publicly affirm its continued respect for the internationally recognized right of freedom of association for workers in its facilities. The Department of Labor offers our support for bipartite dialogue to identify strategies to strengthen the sector and minimize factory closures, and our ongoing commitment to promoting internationally recognized labor rights and the safety of trade union leaders and activists in Honduras and around the world.”