Dec 19, 2006 (New York State Labor-Religion Coalition) -- CITY OF ALBANY, NEW YORK, BECOMES SWEATFREE -- On December 18, 2006, the 15-member Common Council of the City of Albany, New York voted unanimously to adopt a sweatfree apparel and textile purchasing policy that will take effect on March 18, 2007. During the roll call vote on the legislation every member of the Common Council also agreed to co-sponsor the bill.
Albany, New York’s capitol, is the second-oldest chartered city in the US and has a population of about 96,000 residents.
The main proponent of the bill was Councilmember James Sano, Chair of the Council’s Finance, Taxation and Assessment Committee. Councilmember Sano introduced the sweatfree purchasing bill in response to a sweatfree resolution adopted by the Albany County Central Federation of Labor/AFL-CIO at the urging of the New York State Labor-Religion Coalition. His mother, Josephine, was a leader and founder of the Albany Public School Teachers Association (AFT) prior to her retirement and is a Past President of the Albany County Central Federation of Labor (where another son Joseph was also an officer).
The Albany law recognizes the establishment of the new national sweatfree consortium. Albany becomes the third local government in New York to successfully adopt sweatfree purchasing.
Go here for the full list of adopted policies.
Dec 19, 2006 (SweatFree Communities) -- THREE NEW SWEATFREE CAMPAIGNS -- Three new sweatfree state campaigns are gearing up to get their states to join the State and Local Government Sweatfree Consortium.
Go here to learn more about the Maryland campaign and how to help with the effort.
Go here to learn more about the Massachusetts campaign and how to help with the effort.
To learn more about the Vermont campaign, contact fiona [at] usasnet [dot] org.
Dec 14, 2006 (United Students Against Sweatshops) -- PURDUE HUNGER STRIKE ENDS -- After 26 days, the hunger strike at Purdue University ended with a rally yesterday with representatives of the United Steelworkers and the AFL-CIO.
Statement from the strikers:
"While President Jischke has chosen to ignore the will of students, faculty and the community in Lafayette and the support of workers around the world, this campaign is not over. While the hunger strike has ended after more than 26 days, we are stronger than ever. Students and workers are going to continue the fight for the Designated Suppliers Program until it is adopted.
Many tangible things have been won by the hunger strike. First, awareness of these issues both on Purdue’s campus and in the entire higher education community has increased tenfold. More than 70 stories have been printed on Purdue’s refusal to live up to its own obligations. From Chicago to Los Angeles awareness of this issue has increased tremendously. Nationwide, the campaign to ensure that university logoed apparel is made with respect for workers’ rights is as strong as it’s ever been.
Second, while the university continues to move at a glacial pace while workers are in peril every day, the university is moving. Purdue has committed to at least take part in the process of adopting a system that works. By March 21st Purdue will have had the opportunity to participate in the DSP working group and should have the necessary information to proceed with adoption. Our standing demand right now is that by March 21st Purdue adopt and implement the DSP.
Finally, the Purdue student body has been emboldened to act on this issue. Every day more and more students come by and ask how they can get involved in this fight. Every semester that this campaign has gone on, its gotten stronger and stronger. Since President Jischke won’t listen to 16 hunger strikers now, he’s going to be dealing with hundreds in his office next semester. You’ll be seeing us at the Board of Trustees meeting this Friday and Saturday. You’ll be seeing us at graduation. And you can better believe you’ll be seeing a lot more of us come spring semester.
While it’s unfortunate that Purdue refuses to listen at this time it’s more important to remember that it's really the students and the workers which make a university run. In the end justice wins out, and in the end Purdue will adopt the DSP."
The Designated Supplier Program would prohibit the Purdue logo from appearing on products made in factories that don't allow workers to form unions or that don't pay workers a living wage.
Campaign Website: Purdue Hunger Strike
Article in Inside Higher Ed (Dec 12)
More Media Coverage
Designated Suppliers Program: Background, Resources, and More
Frequently Asked Questions about DSP
SweatFree Communities' Letter to Purdue President Jischke
Dec 11, 2006 (Portland Sweatfree Campaign) -- CAMPAIGN IN PORTLAND IS GOING STRONG -- Last week Portland Sweatfree Campaign in Oregon "premiered" the Consortium vision paper at City Hall and received an extremely favorable response. Of particular interest was implementing a vendor fee to come up with the 1% of the procurement budget that would go towards the Consortium. Aspects that were persuasive included emphasizing that a priority is promoting correction action (sanctions are a last resort), establishing long-term relationships between producer and buyer, and using the consortium to eventually develop a designated suppliers program for cities and states.
Activists expect the City will schedule a public hearing on the sweatfree procurement ordinance in January 2007.
For more information about the campaign or to join the effort, see Portland Sweatfree Campaign's website.
Dec 1, 2006 (Sweatfree Bay Area Campaign) -- SAN FRANCISCO COMMITS TO JOINING WRC -- San Francisco adopted a strong sweatfree procurement law last fall. Now city officials in San Francisco have announced that the city will sign a contract with the Worker Rights Consortium for a one year pilot project to investigate labor conditions in apparel factories producing for the city. Activists expect the contract with the WRC to be finalized soon.
Nov 29, 2006 (Los Angeles sweatfree campaign) -- LOS ANGELES CONTRACTS WITH WRC -- It's now official! Los Angeles has signed a one year pilot project contract with the Worker Rights Consortium, becoming the first city to take such a step. The WRC will investigate labor conditions in factories producing uniforms purchased by the City of Los Angeles, as called for in the November 2004 ordinance. This contract is a building block toward the State and Local Government Sweatfree Consortium.
Nov 16, 2006 (New York State Labor-Religion Coalition) -- NEW PALTZ ADOPTS SWEATFREE POLICY -- On November 1, 2006 the Village Board of New Paltz, New York (pop. 6,000+) adopted a new sweatfree purchasing policy for apparel and textiles as allowed by New York state law. The Village of New Paltz has some of the oldest houses in North America and was founded in 1678. Its Village Board is led by two Green Party activists, Mayor Jason West and Deputy Mayor Rebecca Rotzler- a National Green Party Co-Chair who also led the effort to pass the sweatfree ordinance.
New Paltz's new policy establishes a sweatfree advisory committee staffed by the Village Treasurer to implement the policy. This Advisory Committee is also charged to recommend possible membership in the new national sweatfree consortium. Apparel and textile contract information will be made public and the outside parties will be allowed to comment on companies. Contractors and subcontractors who violate the policy, such as being untruthful about actual labor standards, can be fined $5,000. New Paltz joins Suffolk County, Long Island as the second New York jurisdiction to successfully enact a sweatfree ordinance. New York City enacted a sweatfree law in 2001 that was opposed successfully to the New York Supreme Court by Presidential Candidate and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Oct 23, 2006 (Sweatshop Watch) -- LA BOARD OF HARBOR COMMISSIONERS UNIANIMOUSLY ADOPTS SWEATFREE PROCUREMENT RESOLUTION -- In a 3-0 vote, the Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners adopted a sweatfree procurement resolution last Thursday. With this resolution, the Port of Los Angeles adopted the City of Los Angeles' sweatfree procurement policy as outlined in the November 9, 2004 ordinance. The resolution applies to all of the Port's contracts in excess of $25,000. The resolution states that the Port will work with Los Angeles' General Services Department and with the Progressive Jewish Alliance to implement the policy. Read the resolution.
Oct 17, 2006 (Sweatshop Watch) -- LA BOARD OF HARBOR COMMISSIONERS TO CONSIDER SWEATFREE PROCUREMENT RESOLUTION --
The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners, which oversees the management and operation of the Port of Los Angeles, is scheduled to vote on a Sweat-Free Procurement resolution at its Board meeting this Thursday, October 19, 2006. The meeting, which starts at 8:30 a.m., will be held at the Banning's Landing Community Center.
If you can, please join Sweatshop Watch and Progressive Jewish Alliance to testify in support of this critical effort. Members of the public may address the Board for no more than three minutes at the very beginning of the agenda. Anyone who wishes to speak must complete a speaker card and submit it prior to the start of the meeting, so please plan to arrive early.
Copy of the agenda. The proposed resolution is Item No. 4 on the agenda and appears as follows:
SUMMARY: The proposed resolution would adopt the City’s Sweat-Free Procurement Policy as outlined in Ordinance No. 176291 approved by City Council on November 9, 2004, reflecting the City Council’s directive to prevent City procurement of materials or supplies produced by sweatshop labor, child labor, or other abused workers.
Recommendation: Board resolve that (1) the proposed Resolution regarding sweat-free procurement be adopted; and (2) staff be directed to work with General Services and other agencies to insure that no Department funds are used to purchase materials or products from contractors who engage in sweatshop, child labor or other similar activities described in the Ordinance.
Oct 3, 2006 (New York State Labor-Religion Coalition) -- OVER 100 SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAVE SWEATFREE POLICIES -- A recent survey returned that over 100 school districts have adopted sweatfree purchasing policies. Yes, one hundred! A state law adopted in 2001 enabled school districts to adopt sweatfree policies. New York State Labor-Religion Coalition is now starting to follow up with these schools to get copies of the policies, learn how they have been put into effect, and find out whether supplier companies have disclosed their factories. They will organize for the formation of advisory committees that include students to make sure the policies are put into practice.
Sept 28, 2006 (Berkeley Sweatfree Campaign) -- BERKELEY COMMISSION ON LABOR VOTES IN SUPPORT OF SWEATFREE ORDINANCE -- Yesterday the Berkeley Commission on Labor unanimously voted to pass the "Sweatshop Free Berkeley" Ordinance. This occurred after approximately an hour of debate and discussion about the bill. It will now head to the Peace and Justice Commission for their comment, to City staff members, and finally the City Council. Ongoing organizing is still needed!
Berkeley has already approved $25,000 for independent monitoring of factories supplying the City to be allocated once the ordinance is approved.
Sept 18, 2006 (Maine Office of the Governor) -- BALDACCI WELCOMES NEWS OF THE GROWING ANTI-SWEATSHOP INITIATIVE -- Governor John Baldacci welcomed news that the governors of Pennsylvania and New Jersey have joined his initiative to end sweatshop exploitation. Governor Baldacci noted that Maine leads the way in this issue, ensuring that employees have fair working conditions and are paid fair wages, here and across the world.
"I am pleased that New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine and Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell have announced that their states will join Maine's new initiative to end sweatshop exploitation in apparel and other industries." said Governor Baldacci. The Governors' Coalition for Sweatfree Procurement and Workers' Rights will use state government procurement as a way to level the playing field for ethical businesses and advance justice for sweatshop workers.
Sept 16, 2006 (SweatFree Communities) -- RENDELL JOINS CORZINE AND BALDACCI IN GOVERNORS' SWEATFREE COALITION -- Pennsylvania Governor Rendell joined the Governors’ Coalition for Sweatfree Procurement and Workers’ Rights today.
Joint statement by a diverse group of human rights and social justice organizations to Gov. Rendell
SweatFree Communities' press release
Pennsylvania Office of the Governor's news release
Sept 13, 2006 (SweatFree Communities) -- GOVERNOR CORZINE JOINS NATIONAL ANTI-SWEATSHOP INITIATIVE -- New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine has announced that he will participate in a path-breaking governors’ initiative to end sweatshop exploitation in apparel and other global industries. Proposed by Governor John Baldacci of Maine, the Governors’ Coalition for Sweatfree Procurement and Workers’ Rights will use state government procurement as a catalyst to level the playing field for ethical businesses and advance justice for sweatshop workers... Read the press release.
Sept 6, 2006 (St. Paul Public Schools) -- SAINT PAUL PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT ADOPTS SWEATFREE PURCHASING POLICY -- A copy of the new policy is available here.
Update Sept 25: News channel WCCO covers the story -- "St. Paul students spearhead sweatshop ban."
Sept 6, 2006 (Sweatfree Bay Area Coalition) -- SAN FRANCISCO ISSUES RFP FOR INDEPENDENT MONITOR -- As called for by the Sweatfree Bay Area Coalition, which won their campaign for a sweatfree policy in San Francisco a year ago, the City has issued a request for proposals for an "independent non-profit organization with expertise in sweatshop labor to monitor, report and provide consultation services to enforce San Francisco’s sweatfree contracting ordinance." An eligible monitor cannot be funded or controlled by any apparel company.
The Worker Rights Consortium, which was founded by the anti-sweatshop student movement and currently has 158 colleges and universities affiliated, is interested to start providing independent monitoring services to cities like San Francisco on a pilot project basis.
Bids are due October 6, 2006. Click here to view the bid listing.
August 30, 2006 (Maine Clean Clothes Alliance) -- FIRST MAINE CODE OF CONDUCT WORKING GROUP MEETING -- The State of Maine Purchasing Code of Conduct Working Group held its first meeting on August 30. Consisting of four Maine-based advocates for worker rights and four Maine-based businesses that do or could sell apparel or textiles to the state of Maine, the group quickly reached consensus that a multi state and city consortium for monitoring and investigating code of conduct violations is desirable. The group provided the following reasons: 1) A Consortium will pool resources and knowledge for the labor intensive task of discovering actual working conditions of supplier factories; 2) A Consortium will level the playing field for ethical businesses by creating uniform standards and expectations for businesses supplying the government purchasing market; 3) A Consortium will make possible effective enforcement of codes of conduct; 4) A Consortium will expand the market for sweatfree products. The Working Group will advise the State on the creation and use of a Consortium, including necessary legislation, by January 15, 2007.
Worker-advocate members of the Working Group are Bjorn Claeson, SweatFree Communities; Sean Donahue, Peace through Interamerican Community Action; Ernie Loring, UNITE HERE; and Lee Sharkey, University of Maine, Farmington. Business members are John D’Amico, Tri-State Police and Fire; Carl Nickerson, W.S. Emerson Co.; Eric Odier-Fink, Justice Clothing; and Tom Opper, Liberty Graphics. Betty Lamoreau, Director, Division of Purchases, serves as an ex-officio non-voting member.
August 25, 2006 (New York Labor Religion Coalition) -- NEW YORK STATE RENEWS ANTI-SWEATSHOP LAW -- The New York State Labor-Religion Coalition (NYSLRC) led successful efforts during the 2006 New York Legislative session to renew sections of the state code which require state agency sweatfree apparel purchasing and allow local governments to engage in the same. These sections of the NY state code have been linked to the 9/11 apparel registry that was also enacted in 2002 to aid New York garment companies that were adversely affected by the events of 9/11/01. Both the New York Senate and Assembly approved a two-year extension unanimously. Efforts are underway by NYSLRC to enact new sweatfree purchasing ordinances in New York City and Albany. Suffolk County on Long Island enacted sweatfree apparel purchasing requirements previously. NYSLRC is also doing a study of the results of this policy with New York state agencies.
July 21, 2006 (Sweatfree Portland) -- PORTLAND SWEATFREE CAMPAIGN RECEIVES STRONG SUPPORT AT CITY HALL -- Today Portland Sweatfree Coordinator, Deborah Schwartz, and former sweatshop worker from Saipan (currently residing in San Francisco), Chie Abad, were featured on KBOO (90.7 FM). They discussed the campaign underway in Portland and San Francisco's victorious passage of a sweatfree ordinance. In other good news, the sweatfree ordinance is receiving strong support from officials at City Hall. Commissioner Sam Adams has committed to introducing the measure and almost all of the Commissioners, including the Mayor, have announced their support of the concept. Campaign organizers are pushing for a unanimous vote. The list of campaign endorsers is steadily growing and includes Alliance for Democracy, AFSCME Local 189, CWA Local 7901, Global Exchange, ILWU Local 5, NALC Local 82, Oregon Fair Trade Campaign (ORFTC), Portland Central America Solidarity Committee (PCASC), Portland Jobs with Justice, Portland Peaceful Response Coalition, PSU Progressive Student Union, and VOZ. To endorse, contact the campaign coordinator, Deborah Schwartz at sweatfreepdx [at] riseup [dot] net. Learn more on the Portland Sweatfree Campaign website.
July 12, 2006 (Duluth sweatfree campaign) -- LABOR WORLD ARTICLE FEATURES DULUTH SWEATFREE CAMPAIGN -- Click here to read the article.
Exerpt from July 2006 article in The Nation:
Major League Baseball's All-Star game is supposed to be a breezy exhibition of the sport's brightest stars. It's also a place for baseball's corporate patrons to be wined, dined and reassured about the current state of the game.
But at this year's All-Star game in Pittsburgh, the party was crashed by a bull-headed group of about seventy activists determined to change the way the corporate game is played. The Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance (PASCA) held a spirited rally outside Tuesday's game at PNC Park followed by a march to Roberto Clemente Bridge. The procession was a celebration of something anti-sweatshop activists had never been able to claim with Major League Baseball: Real progress.
For several years, PASCA has tried to get the Pirates to address the unfair working conditions in some of the factories where their apparel is produced. For several years they've been treated the way other National League teams treat the Pirates: like a doormat. But as the All-Star Game approached, PASCA's dogged work finally paid off.
...Read the full article.
Read more about the campaign at sweatfree.org/baseball.
July 6, 2006 (Ethical Trade Action Group) -- HISTORIC VICTORY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AT JEFFERSON COUNTY OPEN SCHOOL -- On June 27th, Jefferson County Open School became one of the first high schools in the country to affiliate with the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), an independent non-profit organization responsible for monitoring factory conditions.
The effort to join the WRC and to adopt a sweatshop-free code of conduct was led by students Michael Belt and Mark Anderson. "We do not want our school to subsidize sweatshop conditions in factories where our products are produced. Instead, we are using our power as students and citizens to create positive changes for workers around the world", said Mark Anderson.
Michael Belt and Mark Anderson worked closely with members of the Ethical Trade Action Group (E-TAG), a local anti-sweatshop organization run by community members, and a campaign affiliate of SweatFree Communities. E-TAG provided students with information and logistical support. However, this victory was brought about by students who decided to make a difference.
"The students at Jefferson County Open School made this victory happen," said Josh Schachterle, E-TAG member. "They took it upon themselves to take action and by doing so have made history."
Students at the school are hopeful that their victory will encourage other students, teachers and leaders to follow in their footsteps. "Public institutions from all across the country are taking a stand against sweatshop labor," said Michael Belt. "This was not a difficult decision for us because we knew that we could make a difference in the lives of workers around the world by taking just a few simple steps."
June 28, 2006 (Sweatfree Berkeley Coalition) -- INITIAL VICTORY IN BERKELEY; FUNDING ALLOCATED, ORDINANCE EXPECTED THIS YEAR -- Last night, Berkeley became the third city in the U.S. - joining Los Angeles and San Francisco - to allocate funding for a Sweatfree Ordinance that would prohibit city government from purchasing any and all goods produced in sweatshops. A diverse coalition of over 30 labor, faith-based, student, and community groups in Berkeley pushed for ordinance funding. The City Council approved $25,000 for initial funding and vowed to revisit the issue again in December during the mid-year budget review.
The Sweatfree Berkeley Coalition, with recommendations from the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission and the Commission on Labor, requested a recurring $60,000 and hopes that this gap in funding will be filled in December. The Coalition hopes that the sweatfree procurement ordinance will pass by the end of 2006.
Council members voiced interest in the idea of a multi-city and state consortium that would operate as a third party non-profit monitor, similar to the USAS-developed Workers Rights Consortium.
Let's celebrate this victory and work to pass similar legislations with funding in cities and states around the country!
June 12, 2006 (Worker Rights Consortium) -- FIRST HIGH SCHOOLS IN THE U.S. AFFILIATE WITH THE WRC -- It's official. Today the Worker Rights Consortium received affiliation letters from two high schools: Brattleboro Union High School in Vermont and Oak Park and River Forest High School in Illinois.
This follows on the successful organizing in Ontario, Canada, where ten Catholic school districts joined together earlier this year to affiliate with the Worker Rights Consortium for a two-year pilot project.
May 16, 2006 (Child Labor Education and Action; Oak Park and River Forest High School Students Against Sweatshops) -- TWO HIGH SCHOOLS PLEDGE TO AFFILIATE WITH THE WRC -- This week two high schools took a significant stance for worker rights. Oak Park and River Forest High School in Illinois will affiliate with the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) for independent monitoring of supplier apparel factories. And in Vermont the school board adopted a motion supporting the affiliation of Brattleboro Union High School with the WRC. Brattleboro students expect the school will finalize the code of conduct language within the coming months.
On May 15, over 100 residents of Brattleboro, Vermont, and surrounding towns came out to support Child Labor Education and Action's (CLEA) efforts to abolish sweatshop use in the manufacturing of Brattleboro Union High School apparel. There were many effective speakers at the meeting, including Bob Ross, a Clark University sociology professor. One community member emphasized the support in the room by asking that anyone present who opposed affiliation to please stand up. Everyone remained seated. He then asked everyone who supported the campaign to please stand up. Immediately the entire audience stood up despite the Chairman's complaints that this was a "disruption". The motion to affiliate with the Workers Rights Consortium passed 9-3. On June 5, CLEA will meet with the school board again to approve the code of conduct and the affiliation letter.
The campaign in Brattleboro has received significant media attention: look for articles from the Brattleboro Reformer on our media page.
April 25, 2006 (Maquila Solidarity Network) -- TORONTO ADOPTS "NO SWEATSHOPS" PURCHASING POLICY -- The largest city in Canada adopted a strong sweatfree purchasing policy today. Learn more about the Maquila Solidarity Network, which led the campaign. News release.
April 20, 2006 (Providence, Rhode Island) -- SWEATFREE ORDINANCE PASSES AT CITY OF PROVIDENCE -- The city council approved the sweatfree policy today. The ordinance meets the high standard adopted in San Francisco and Madison: it creates a sweatfree procurement advisory group and asks the city to join a consortium of local governments for independent monitoring of supplier factories and sweatfree policy enforcement - once such a consortium is created.
April 18, 2006 (Sweatfree Bay Area) -- BERKELEY APPROVES DEVELOPMENT OF SWEATFREE ORDINANCE -- Yesterday the City of Berkeley unanimously approved a motion to develop a sweatfree ordinance, which would prohibit the city from purchasing goods produced in sweatshops. The city council will hold a public hearing on May 17. Learn more about the campaign and what you can do. Article in The Daily Californian.
April 7, 2006 (Providence, Rhode Island) -- PROVIDENCE CITY COUNCIL PASSES SWEATFREE ORDINANCE -- The city council in Providence, Rhode Island, passed a sweatfree procurement ordinance today. The final vote is expected April 20.
April 3, 2006 (Child Labor Education and Action) -- STUDENTS PRESENT SWEATFREE POLICY TO BRATTLEBORO, VERMONT, SCHOOL BOARD -- Today high school students representing the student organization Child Labor Education and Action presented a sweatfree policy to the Brattleboro, Vermont, school board. A follow-up meeting in May will address concerns raised by members at this meeting. Students had started discussions about a sweatfree policy with the school board in spring 2005. Media coverage from April 2006: Editorial by Brattleboro Reformer: "Labored response". Article by Reformer staff: "Board stymies CLEA request".
February 28, 2006 (SweatFree Communities) -- MAINE GOVERNOR LAUNCHES NATIONAL ANTI-SWEATSHOP INITIATIVE -- Maine Governor John E. Baldacci today wrote all governors inviting them to join a coalition to stop tax subsidies of sweathops. Governor Baldacci's proposed Coalition for Sweatfree Procurement and Workers' Rights has the potential to create a hundred billion dollar market for sweatfree products and services, completely transforming apparel and other industries characterized by sweatshop abuse.
Take action to persuade your governor to join this effort.
February 16, 2006 (from E-TAG, Denver) -- ASK DENVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS TO GO SWEATFREE -- Ethical Trade Action Group and United Students for Fair Trade are teaming up to remind Denver Public Schools: NO MORE PUBLIC SUBSIDIES FOR SWEATSHOP LABOR! Gilberto Garcia from Just Garments in El Salvador will be joining the action.
Date: Thursday, February 16th, 2006
Time: 5:00 pm
Place: 900 Grant St., Denver, Colorado
At the end of 2005, E-TAG proposed a sweatfree policy to Denver Public School (DPS) board members. E-TAG members spoke about the egregious human rights violations that take place in sweatshops and how workers around the world who make products for DPS could lift themselves out of sweatshop conditions. The room was filled with supporters and coalition members who gave thunderous applauses throughout the presentation. Since the presentation, E-TAG has been working with the administration to pin down exact budget numbers so that we can determine the exact cost of a sweatfree policy.
February 9, 2006 (from Maquila Solidarity Network) -- NO SWEAT VICTORY AT TORONTO CATHOLIC SCHOOL BOARD -- After three years of campaigning led by Toronto catholic school students, the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) passed a “Sweatshop-Free Uniform Policy” February 8 which sets minimum standards for suppliers of apparel to area schools.
An initial policy was passed last November but at the urging of manufacturers the trustees removed requirements for public disclosure of factory locations and independent verification of working conditions.
After a vigorous and sustained lobby and protest campaign by students, teachers, priests, and trustees supported by the Maquila Solidarity Network and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, the TCDSB voted unanimously to revise its policy to apply to all apparel purchased by the Board and to require full public disclosure. In addition, the TCDSB voted to join eight other Ontario catholic school boards in a two-year pilot project with the Worker Rights Consortium to verify conditions in supplier factories.
Trustees repeatedly cited the student leadership and dedication to the issue as the main reason for adopting the revised policy.
Read the Toronto Star article.
January 27, 2006 (from Maine Clean Clothes Alliace) -- PUBLIC HEARING: OVERWHELMING SUPPORT FOR STRENGTHENING MAINE'S PURCHASING CODE OF CONDUCT LAW -- Some 50 people turned out on very short notice to support a bill drafted by the state's Division of Purchases to strengthen the Maine sweatfree procurement law. MECCA and allies from Maine, elsewhere in the United States, and around the world had provided detailed comments on the purchasing rules during public hearings organized late last year by the Division of Purchases. The resulting bill includes provisions that strengthens the factory disclosure requirements, defines and allows for the use of independent monitoring of supplier factories, establishes a clear and safe process for workers or their advocates to call attention to worker rights violations, and adds tougher sanctions against non-compliant companies. See testimony from the Director of Purchasing, unions, small business, and others here.
January 27, 2006 (from Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance) -- CITY OF PITTSBURGH TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARING ON SWEATFREE PURCHASING POLICY -- In response to a petition from activists, the city council is holding a public hearing on the implementation of the sweatfree purchasing policy adopted in 1997. The hearing is at Tuesday, Janauary 31, 2006 at 1:30pm in Council Chambers. To speak at the hearing, register by Monday, January 30 at noon by calling 412-255-2138.