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Economic action to end sweatshop and forced child labor


Sweatshop News

Green America's Sweatshop News pulls news from the international press to keep you up to date on companies and industries implicated in sweatshop and child labor, union-busting, and human rights abuse here and around the world.

A Step Forward on Fair Wages in the Marianas
February 2007:
As part of their "first 100 hours" of legislation, the new Democratic House of Representatives took action on a longstanding sweatshop loophole affecting thousands of workers in the US territory of the Marianas Islands. For years, labor activists and lawmakers have been trying to bring the Marianas under US labor laws, since garments sewn there have been labeled as "made in the USA." As part of the recent minimum-wage bill, the House took a step toward bringing fairer wages to Marianas workers. Read more »

New Balance and Wal-Mart

January 2006: A report released China Labor Watch and the National Labor Committee revealed that workers at the Donguan Hongyuan shoe factory, making products for New Balance and Wal-Mart, are subject to a range of labor abuses. Workers are paid 41 cents per hour, they work mandatory 14 to 15.8 hour shifts seven days per week including night shifts and they have no regularly scheduled days off. They are forced to work 36 hours of overtime without receiving the legally required overtime pay. Housing conditions are poor. Food is contaminated. Women wokers have no private showers and must bathe in front of men. To read the full report visit China Labor Watch's web site.

Learn more about Wal-Mart on Green America's Responsible Shopper web site »

Acer and Fijitsu Siemens

December 2005: According to the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), poor working conditions exist in factories making products for Acer and Fujitsu Siemens Computers. Employees for these subcontractors work long days for insufficient wages and in unhealthy environments. SOMO researchers found dangerous health situations in the factories. Workers handled toxic chemicals in poorly ventilated spaces and without protection. Employees complained of nausea and skin allergies. Workers were threatened with dismissal for attempting to organize in the Philippine factory. SOMO did research in nine factories in China and the Philippines that supply Acer and Fujitsu Siemens Computers. SOMO researcher Esther de Haan explains, “Employees in China and the Philippines work 70 to 84 hours per week and, even in the best cases, rarely have a day off. Salaries are not sufficient to cover even the basic cost of living, and there is inadequate compensation for overtime work. Acer and Fujitsu Siemens Computers allow their products to be manufactured in these factories, but they do not take responsibility for the poor working conditions nor do they take appropriate measures to improve the situation.” SOMO states that in reaction to their research, Acer and Fujitsu Siemens Computers indicated that they do not feel responsible for working conditions outside their own factories. Learn more from Somo.

Learn more about Acer on Green America's Responsible Shopper web site »

December 2005: Firestone owns a rubber plantation in Liberia where workers compalin that through enforced poverty and coercion, they are kept as slaves. They are forced to tap 700 trees per day and because of their heavy work loads they must use their wives and children to help them. The International Labor Rights Fund has filed suit on behalf of workers under the Alien Tort Claims Act. ILRF is calling this their strongest case ever because the instances of abuse are pervasive and Firestone owns the plantation. Learn more. Visit the International Labor Rights Fund Web site.

Adidas and Nike
November 2005:
The Fair Labor Association (FLA) revealed in an audit released in November 2005 that factories making products for Adidas-Salomon AG were still forcing employees excessive overtime, violation safety guidelines, and interfering with workers rights to organize. The report noted that the most common violations in factories were fire and health and safety issues. Learn more. Read the FLA's report.

Read about Nike and Adidas on Green America's Responsible Shopper Web site »

November 2005
. The International Labor Rights Fund has filed a federal lawsuit charging Coca-Cola and its bottler in Turkey with torture of union activists and their families.  The lawsuit was filed under the Alien Tort Statute, the Torture Victim Protection Act, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and New York state tort law.

Managers at the Coca-Cola Icecek bottling facility in Dudullu, Turkey, allegedly called on a special brand of the Turkish police force, the Cevik Kuvvet, to beat former employees that had joined a union.  About 100 employees had been fired after joining a union and employees were protesting the company action.  The International Labor Rights Fund alleges that employees were beaten with clubs, tear gassed, and then taken to prison in an effort to intimidate workers and force employees to abandon union efforts.  The suit seeks damages physical injuries sustained by the victims and for the children and spouses that were present at the time of the beatings.  Learn more. Visit the International Labor Rights Fund Web site.


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