Pledging
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




Polling 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
You May Pledge Your Support For This Issue With A Monetary
Donation And By Writing A Letter To Your Representatives
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Pledge Period - Opening Date
March 26, 2020
Pledge Period - Closing Date
April 8, 2020
Trustee Election - Begins
April 2, 2020


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