Trustee Election
These are the original issues in this subcategory
  • CHILD FARMWORKERS
  • ERGONOMICS STANDARDS
  • SWEATSHOPS
Winning Issue » SWEATSHOPS


Many consumer products including clothes, shoes, appliances, electronics and toys are made in Asian and Central American factories. Workers in these factories are often subjected to low pay, long hours, abusive supervisors, and poorly lighted or ventilated workplaces. In 2013, an eight story building collapsed in Bangladesh killing 1,127 garment workers. Several factories housed in this unsafe building sold apparel to many of the largest Western clothing retailers. Soon after this disaster, the European Union threatened to limit Bangladesh’s duty-free trade access if garment companies didn’t help make factories safer. At least 69 European retailers then signed a legally-binding agreement to improve factory safety conditions. The “Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh” provides for independent safety inspections along with help financing fire-safety and building improvements in these garment factories. Nearly all American garment companies have refused to sign this accord because they would not agree to the use of binding arbitration to resolve disputes.

Advocates say sweatshops are just as prevalent here as they are in foreign countries, producing many of the shirts, dresses, blouses and skirts sold on the racks of big American clothing retailers. A Labor Department survey of state-registered cutting and sewing shops in New York and Los Angeles found that nearly two-thirds of these operations don't pay their workers minimum wages or overtime. This ratio would have undoubtedly been much higher if the survey included the hundreds or thousands of fly-by-night operations that don't bother to register with a state. Advocates claim it is not uncommon for the employees of American garment manufacturers to be crowded together in small rooms with few facilities, being irregularly paid a mere dollar or two per hour. Most of these workers don't complain to authorities because English is not their native language and because they fear being deported. Advocates say there is not enough inspectors to police this industry.


Pending Legislation: None




Options


  • I oppose reforming current sweatshop policy and wish to donate resources to the campaign committee of either Rep. Paul Ryan or Sen. Mitch McConnell
  • I support sponsoring a bill to deny Bangladesh’s duty-free trade access to American garment firms until these companies sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, and also wish to donate resources to the campaign committee of Rep. Charles Rangel (NY) or to an advocate group currently working with this issue
  • I support sponsoring a bill to hire additional inspectors to police the American garment manufacturing industry, and also wish to donate resources to the campaign committee of Rep. Charles Rangel (NY) or to an advocate group currently working with this issue


Winning Option
  • I support sponsoring a bill to deny Bangladesh’s duty-free trade access to American garment firms until these companies sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, and also wish to donate resources to the campaign committee of Rep. Charles Rangel (NY) or to an advocate group currently working with this issue
There has been $0.00 pledged in support of this issue
Trustee Candidates

If elected as a trustee, the campaign committee of Rep. Charles Rangel (NY) (or an alternate legislator) will be unconditionally awarded the funds pledged to this issue along with a letter requesting him to favorably consider sponsoring a bill to limit Bangladesh’s duty-free trade access unless American garment firms sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

If elected as a trustee, the Institute for Global Labor and Human Rights will be awarded the funds pledged to this issue along with a letter requesting these funds be used to work and advocate for the promotion and defense of internationally recognized worker rights and for U.S. garment manufacturers to sign the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh.

The Institute for Global Labor and Human Rights (the Institute) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) human rights organization dedicated to the promotion and defense of internationally recognized worker rights in the global economy. Founded in 1981, the Institute's research, in-depth reports, high profile public campaigns and widespread media coverage have been instrumental in creating the anti-sweatshop movement in the United States and internationally. The Institute is headquartered in Pittsburgh with regional offices in Dhaka and San Salvador and research/advocacy partnerships in China, Jordan, Central America and South Asia. The mission of the Institute is to promote and defend human, women's and workers' rights in the global economy. With a widespread and highly experienced team of international advocates, the Institute responds to appeals for support from exploited workers all over the developing world who produce goods for export to the U.S. It undertakes in-depth research, public education and popular campaigns that empower the American people to provide support and solidarity to workers struggling to defend their most basic rights. It states that as workers across the developing world fight for their right to work in dignity, in healthy and safe workplaces, to earn a living wage and to organize independent unions, the Institute will provide solidarity and international visibility to support their efforts, and will continue to demand that corporations be held legally accountable to respect core internationally recognized worker rights standards.
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Trustee Election - Opening Date
April 9, 2020
Trustee Election - Closing Date
April 15, 2020