The Sweatshop Hall of Shame features apparel companies that have consistently flouted worker’s rights. This year’s hall of shame highlights companies whose labor practices have failed to comply with international fair labor standards.The 2010 inductees are: Abercrombie & Fitch, Gymboree, Hanes, Ikea, Kohl’s, LL Bean, Pier 1, Propper International, and Walmart.
Most, if not all, of the companies mentioned source from factories which pay workers poverty wages and use illegal tactics that suppress workers’ right to organize. Some of the brands (namely Gymboree, Hanes, and LL Bean) source cotton from Uzbekistan, which forces children to pick cotton instead of going to school.
ILRF along with other labor rights organizations have contacted several inductees requesting them to ensure that their supplier’s adhere to fair labor practices, such as ensuring workers safe working conditions, treatment with respect and dignity, and sufficient wages to support the basic needs of their families. Companies such as Walmart and Kohl’s have ignored requests to resolve factory issues and all inductees have failed to take any meaningful action.
The factory’s worker’s union TESKIF, requested ILRF to communicate with these U.S. brands but each company denied the problems. Some conducted private investigations but refused to release the findings.
For instance, IKEA commissioned an audit into labor conditions at Menderes and concluded there were no major problems. But trade unions and anti-sweatshop groups like the Clean Clothes Campaign were denied access to the results of the audit, raising serious concerns about the biased conclusions that often arise from a company’s self-commissioned audit.
Walmart and Kohl’s have each made little to no effort at improving labor conditions at the factory—instead they’ve promising to implement measures that would fail to make effective changes. Walmart signed a letter along with several of Menderes’ European brands that essentially voices support for the factory’s management and suggests no concern for intervening.
You can send a message directly to these companies expressing your outrage that they have allowed the workers in Turkey to be denied access to their basic rights according to international labor standards. TAKE ACTION NOW!
The Hall of Shame was created as a counterpart to the Shop with a Conscience Guide–a list of “sweatfree” options for socially-conscious shoppers who would like to purchase clothing made under ethical conditions. Launched three years ago by ILRF and SweatFree Communities, the guide is a valuable resource for consumers to identify the fairest companies of them all.
Consumers have the power to stop the gross labor violations rampant within the apparel and textile industries by demanding companies end a production system that exploits workers in order to satiate corporate greed. In addition, companies must fully comply with their own corporate social responsibility commitments and take bigger strides towards establishing safe and ethical working conditions for their laborers.