FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK – Workers at the Stella Footwear factory have been on strike since March 8 over unpaid social benefits, and as of March 9 and 10, approximately 5,000 workers have been participating. The factory is located in Chang’an Township of Dongguan City. Hundreds of workers at a sister plant in Dongguan called Xingxiong Footwear also went on strike on March 10.
A female worker at Stella surnamed Liu who has worked at the company for eight years told CLW that the factory currently employs approximately 10,000 workers. Workers are striking to demand the company make up for unpaid housing fund payments. Employers in China are mandated to pay into a housing fund for all employees on a monthly basis. Liu said that Stella company management told its workers that it would only pay into the housing fund of those employees who have bought or are renting housing in Dongguan. This caused discontent among the many workers who would lose out on their legally guaranteed benefits.
Stella workers blocked the street in front of the factory. During the action, a number of workers were hit by cars and injured. Liu told CLW that she was hit by a car and is currently in the hospital for treatment.
Hundreds of public security were called out in force to quell the worker action, including the utilization of K9 units. According to Liu, many workers were bit and had to pay for treatment at the hospital, including shots, that cost 1,700 RMB ($271). Online photos of the strike demonstrate the heavy police presence.
Workers told CLW that the Stella Footwear factory produces for Prada, Nike, Adidas, Timberland, Louis Vuitton, Jordan, and Clarks.
An online company profile of Stella Footwear (Chinese) mentions that the factory also manufactures for Nine West, Easy Spirit, Brown, Reebok, Rockport, Kenneth Cole, and Via Spiga. A 2007 video produced by the company Patagonia explains that Stella Footwear is a Patagonia manufacturing partner, though a map on Patagonia’s website does not list Stella Footwear as a supplier (accessed on March 10).
The photos below were posted online by workers and observers.