Press Releases

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ILRF Calls on Brands to Join Fire Safety Program Following Deadly Fire

Death Toll at Walmart Supplier is Highest in Bangladesh Garment Industry to Date
11/25/12

More than one hundred workers died as a result of the garment factory fire that started on Saturday evening at Tazreen Fashions, owned by Tuba Group. Together with our partners in Bangladesh and around the world, ILRF is calling for an independent and transparent investigation into the causes of the fire; full and fair compensation to be paid to injured workers and to the families of the deceased; and effective action from all parties involved to prevent future tragedies.

Government Suppliers Rank Lower than Apparel Industry Average on Child and Forced Labor

11/14/12

Today Free2Work released the most comprehensive picture to date of any sector’s corporate social responsibility efforts on child and forced labor. The new report, “The Story Behind the Barcode: Apparel Industry Trends from Farm to Factory,” ranks 300 apparel brands on their efforts to address child and forced labor from cotton farms to textile plants and garment factories. These products make their way to store shelves in the US and are also bought with taxpayer dollars.

Factory certification body fails to assist victims of Karachi factory fire

Labour rights groups call upon Social Accountability International (SAI) to release information on brand buyers and factory audit reports
10/10/12
  • Victims of tragic factory fire in Pakistan are denied  crucial information to hold brand buyers accountable
  • SAI and SAAS refuse to cooperate in identifying international buyers that were at the factory or release the findings of accredited auditor
  • SA8000 certification gave clean bill of health to Ali Enterprises factory that went up in flames and cost the lives of nearly 300 garment workers

Raise the Bar, Hershey! Campaign Welcomes Hershey's Announcement to Source 100% Certified Cocoa by 2020

Coalition urges Hershey and all chocolate companies to go 100% Fair Trade
10/03/12

The Raise the Bar, Hershey! Campaign (www.raisethebarhershey.org) welcomed today’s announcement from the Hershey Co. (HSY) that it will be certifying 100 percent of its cocoa by 2020 and urged the chocolate giant to go 100 percent Fair Trade with incremental benchmarks. Hershey appeared to join its main rival Mars in announcing its target for certification with a 2020 deadline.

Whole Foods Drops Hershey’s Scharffen Berger Chocolates Over Child Labor Abuses

Consumers Pressure Whole Foods to Drop Hershey’s Dagoba Line as well
10/03/12

Whole Foods Market (NYSE: WFM) locations around the country will be removing one of Hershey’s high end products– Scharffen Berger chocolate– from shelves across the country by the end of the year due to Hershey’s failure to assure that the cocoa is sourced without the use of forced child labor.

Gap, Abercrombie, and JCPenney Lag Behind on Factory Safety Initiatives

Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein, now joined by European retailer Tchibo, have already agreed to fix death trap factories in Bangladesh
09/25/12

Over 600 garment workers have been killed in garment factories in Bangladesh during the past six years while sewing clothing destined for North America and Europe. The September 11, 2012, garment factory blaze in Karachi, Pakistan – which killed 289 workers, making it the world’s deadliest industrial accident on record – is the latest reminder of the urgency by which brands must adopt proper safety measures to protect workers’ lives.

Consumer-Owned Grocery Retailers Call On Hershey To Address Child Slave Labor In Cocoa

Retailers express concern about carrying Hershey's Dagoba and Scharffenberger chocolates
08/23/12

Forty-one consumer-owned grocer cooperatives and natural food retailers operating 62 stores released an open letter today calling on The Hershey Company to take action to end child slave labor on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast (Cote D'Ivoire). The retailers are asking Hershey to fully commit to ethically sourced cocoa produced under fair labor standards.

Hershey's Transgressions Mount on World Day Against Child Labor

Advocacy groups unite to appeal to Hershey’s leadership to honor Milton Hershey’s legacy and protect children, students, and guestworkers
06/12/12

Leaders of several prominent human rights, consumer, and healthcare groups spoke out today in an appeal to Hershey’s leadership demanding reforms to the candy maker’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices, including the company’s ongoing use of abusive child labor in cocoa production. This appeal coincides with World Day Against Child Labor, a global effort to raise awareness of the issue of child labor, organized by the UN’s International Labor Organization (ILO). 

Bangladesh: Investigate Killing of Labor Activist

04/12/12

Union Organizer Aminul Islam’s Body Bore Signs of Torture

(New York, April 12, 2012) –­ The Bangladesh authorities should  immediately and impartially investigate the killing of the labor rights activist Aminul Islam, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed. Islam, 39, was a trade union organizer with the Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity (BCWS).

Rights Groups Decry Murder of Noted Labor Rights Activist in Bangladesh

Local police found body bearing signs of brutal torture, former apparel worker had received numerous death threats & been detained & tortured by Bangladeshi security services in 2010
04/09/12

A Bangladeshi labor rights activist and former apparel worker was tortured and murdered last week in Dhaka. His body was dumped outside of the capital city and was found by local police last Thursday.  According to the police report, Aminul Islam's body bore signs of brutal torture. Aminul's family, who had been searching for him since he disappeared last Wednesday, identified him on Saturday from photos appearing in local newspapers.

Raise the Bar Coalition to Hershey and Cadbury: Get Child Slave Labor Out Of Our Easter Baskets

Popular Easter chocolate offerings tainted by child labor; over 5,000 consumers sign petition to Hershey and Cadbury/Kraft CEO's
04/05/12

The "Raise the Bar, Hershey!" Coalition which has called on The Hershey Company to remove forced child labor from its products has an additional target this Easter: Cadbury/Kraft.

PVH Corp. Announces Landmark Agreement with Coalition of NGOs and Bangladesh Labor Unions on Fire and Building Safety

03/21/12

PVH is the initial company to commit to this first-of-its-kind program

NEW YORK, Mar 21, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- PVH Corp. [NYSE: PVH] announced today that it has entered into a Joint Memorandum of Understanding with a group of non-governmental organizations consisting of Clean Clothes Campaign, Worker Rights Consortium, The International Labor Rights Forum, and Maquila Solidarity Network, as well as a group of eight international and Bangladeshi trade unions, regarding fire and building safety in Bangladesh’s apparel factories.

WRC on PVH's Bangladesh Fire Safety Agreement

03/21/12

Phillips Van- Heusen (PVH), which operates Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and other apparel brands, has made an unprecedented set of commitments to protect apparel workers in Bangladesh from the grievous safety hazards that have taken hundreds of lives in recent years. The agreement between PVH and labor rights organizations and unions in Bangladesh and internationally is a vital step forward for workers in Bangladesh.

Hershey's to be Called-Out for Alleged Use of Forced Child Labor in Ad at Super Bowl

01/30/12

Rights Watchdog Wants Chocolate-Maker to Stop Exploiting Children

Hershey’s use of forced child labor will be the subject of a commercial titled “Hershey’s Chocolate: Kissed by Child Labor.” The first-ever Super Bowl “brand-jamming” ad will appear on a jumbotron screen immediately outside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where the game will be played on Sunday, February 5th, alongside spots by McDonalds, AllState, and others. The commercial is expected to reach over 250,000 consumers attending Super Bowl day activities.

“More Unionists Were Killed”: Alliance of Progressive Labor Testifies in Washington Hearing

01/26/12

Washington, DC --   On the second day of the 2011 Annual Review of Country Practices conducted by the US Trade Representative for the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the Secretary-General of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), refuted claims of the Philippine government representatives that it has done a lot to resolve the trade union killings.  

Working for Scrooge: This Year’s Worst Companies to Work for if You Want the Right to Join a Union

12/20/11

Contact: Judy Gearhart, 202-347-4100 x106

December 20, 2011-- Hershey’s, Dole, Wal-Mart and Philippine Airlines top ILRF’s list of the “Worst Companies to Work for if You Want the Right to Join a Union,” according to a new report released today by the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), a leading labor rights watchdog based in Washington, DC. The corporations on ILRF’s list use intimidation and sometimes violence, in the U.S. and abroad, to violate workers’ internationally recognized right to organize.

Labor and Consumer Groups Call on US Government to Improve Procurement Tool in the Fight Against Forced Child Labor Globally

US Gov Spends Billions Each Year on Secondary Products Like Chocolate and Uniforms Potentially Made with Exploitative Child Labor; Groups Seek to Close Loophole and Prevent Contractors From Potentially Selling Goods Made with Forced Child Labor to Gov
12/06/11

This week a coalition of twenty-four organizations representing organized labor, religious communities, socially responsible businesses, and consumers shared with the US Department of Labor a vision on how the US Government could do more to ensure that taxpayer dollars don’t support forced child labor.

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