In August last year Iris Montoya came to work at the Rio Garment factory in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, where she had worked as a sewing machine operator for 11 years. At 11 a.m., the factory lights shut off and management escorted the workers outside, locking the doors behind them.
Management announced that the factory was shutting down operations that very day. Panic broke out. Workers were told to go home, barred from retrieving their belongings, and left without their last week’s pay.
Three weeks later, when Montoya went to the hospital for foot surgery, she was denied coverage. Management had been deducting insurance from workers’ paychecks for the past five months but had not been depositing the money into the health care system.