In the News

Portland (OR) celebrates its progress toward ‘sweat-free’ procurement

“When we put on our uniforms and wear city-supplied hats and T-shirts, we need to be assured these products are not produced under sweatshop conditions.” That’s what Richard Beetle, business manager of the Laborers local union, said when the city council of Portland, Oregon, last year decided that the city would purchase only uniforms and other apparel that are “sweat-free.”

N.Y. Joins Sweatfree Consortium

Women's Wear Daily

Labor conditions at factories producing uniforms, apparel and textiles used by federal and state governments came under increased scrutiny last week.

New York State on Thursday pledged to purchase government goods from businesses that adhere to labor laws when it joined the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium.

Gov. David Paterson said, “I will do everything I can to ensure that state government funds are not used to support sweatshop conditions.”...

NY Says No To Sweatshops

The Gouverneur Times

Excerpt from article:

ALBANY, NY(readMedia) - Governor David A. Paterson today announced that the State of New York has joined the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium. The Consortium is a coalition of state and local governments that work together to create and enforce standards for bulk purchases. The members wish to stop buying from contractors that break labor laws by producing goods in sweatshops a movement known as "sweatfree" procurement.

Hong Kong: Women Workers in the Economic Crisis

Z Magazine


Under the heading "Decent Work, Decent Life for Women," the first International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) World Women's Conference brought together 460 delegates from over 100 countries from October 19 to 21 in Brussels. They examined the repercussions of the global jobs crisis on women and mapped out international trade union actions to improve their job security, pay, and working conditions.

Uzbek Students 'Regularly' Expelled For Not Picking Cotton

Radio Free Europe

Uzbek students who refuse to work in cotton fields during the harvest season in Uzbekistan are being expelled from high schools and universities, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

Bobur Rashidov, a university teacher, told RFE/RL that an average of five to 10 students who do not attend or leave the compulsory work in the cotton fields are expelled from his university on an annual basis.

He said that of some 3,000 students at his university -- which he asked not be named -- about 1,000 do not participate in the obligatory cotton harvest.

107 slave laborers freed in Mexico City


(CNN) -- Mexican authorities have freed 107 indigenous people who officials say were being held as slave laborers in a Mexico City factory disguised as a drug rehabilitation center.

Twenty-three suspects were arrested in Thursday's raid, said Miguel Angel Mancera, Mexico City's attorney general. Two more were arrested Friday morning, officials said.

The victims ranged from 14 to 70 years old, and some were tortured, Mancera told CNN affiliate TV Azteca. Some victims also suffered sexual abuse, he said.

Corporate Scrooge has change of heart

Salt Lake Tribune

When we think of heartwarming tales, they tend to be of the sort like "Miracle on 34th Street," where little Susan Walker gets the house she wanted for Christmas after all, or "It's a Wonderful Life," where George Bailey's neighbors and customers put self-interest aside to save his bank. Those are yummy treats of magical doings and brotherly compassion that the season inspires. But in real life happy endings don't often come so easily or tidily.

Workforce Abuse Jeopardizes US Trade Status: Union

Voice of America

If the government continues to ignore labor violations and fails to address working conditions, it risks its special trade access to lucrative US markets, a leading labor leader said in Washington last week.

Marking the 10-year anniversary of a preferential Cambodia-US trade agreement in Washington, Art Thorn, president of the Cambodian Labor Confederation, said unfair practices and poor working conditions will continue without the intervention of the international community...

Labor Fight Ends in Win for Students

New York Times


The anti-sweatshop movement at dozens of American universities, from Georgetown to U.C.L.A., has had plenty of idealism and energy, but not many victories.

Until now.

The often raucous student movement announced on Tuesday that it had achieved its biggest victory by far. Its pressure tactics persuaded one of the nation’s leading sportswear companies, Russell Athletic, to agree to rehire 1,200 workers in Honduras who lost their jobs when Russell closed their factory soon after the workers had unionized...