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Unite et al vs. Brylane Inc.

Case overview

Date filed 8 October 2002
Current status Withdrawn
Issue Brylane's anti-trade union practices in the US
Summary of the case The complaint alleges Brylane, a specialty catalog retailer, and parent company Pinault-Printemps-Redoute’s (PPR) treatment of employees constitutes a systematic attempt to deny employees’ rights to freedom of association and right to collective bargaining. Brylane has refused to respect its employees’ request for representation by the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees, AFL-CIO, CLC (also known as “UNITE!”). In October 2001, workers employed by Brylane in Indiana initiated an effort to form a union for the purposes of collective bargaining. Brylane and PPR have responded with a campaign of harassment and intimidation.

Examples of the company’s tactics in this campaign include:

1) establishment of Brylane Associates Against UNITE! a company- created, financed and controlled employee committee;
2) pervasive and relentless distribution of anti-union literature;
3) regularly subjecting employees to mandatory anti-union meetings during which many of the aforementioned statements intended to alarm employees are continuously reiterated;
4) providing explicit instructions as to how employees may revoke the union card they signed freely of their own accord thereby denying the exercising of freedom of association;
5) discriminating against and denying advancement to employees who voice support for unionization;
6) threatening employees who speak out in favor of unionization.

Developments/Outcome UNITE withdrew the case filed after it reached an agreement with Brylane in January 2003 to allow union organizing to proceed at the Indiana facility.
Relevant OECD Guidelines
Case keywords Labour rights, Harassment, Textiles / Apparel, NGO-union collaboration

NCP Information

NCP name National Contact Point Austria
NCP address Stubenring 1 1010 Vienna, Austria
NCP website www.oecd-leitsaetze.at
Other NCPs involved

Complainants

Trade union

Company Information

Company responsible Brylane Inc
Company address 463 seventh avenue
10018 New York
United States
Company website http://www.brylanehome.com/brylanehome/layout/layout.asp?referer=1&
Company in violation Brylane Inc
Country of operations United States
Other companies involved

Timeline of developments

Date Actor Action Description Document
8 October 2002 Clean Clothes Kampagne Austria file This case was first brought before the American, French and Dutch NCPs by trade unions before CCC Austria decided to file a complaint. download pdf (26Kb)  
National Contact Point Austria statement Case was dropped on the grounds that a company owned by PPR (Gucci) did not have sufficient influence on its parent company.  

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