Tim Newman, Campaigns Director, International Labor Rights Forum
As we enter a new year, ILRF is already riding on a wave of exciting successes from the end of 2009. Here are some highlights of recent victories in our campaigns:
L L Bean
In the end of November 2009, ILRF released our 2010 Sweatshop Hall of Shame which included L. L. Bean, in part because of the company's previous lack of a public statement opposing the use of forced child labor in Uzbekistan's cotton industry. After ILRF supporters contacted the company, within 24 hours L. L. Bean had started to contact its cotton suppliers about banning Uzbek cotton and agreed to work with ILRF and other companies on stopping these abuses. Find out more on our blog here.
In the end of December 2009, hundreds of ILRF supporters e-mailed J. Crew and used Twitter and Facebook to tell the company to speak out about forced child labor in Uzbek cotton. Within hours, we received word from J. Crew that the company would track its cotton supply chain to ensure it did not include Uzbek cotton and that the company would publicly speak out against these abuses.
On International Human Rights Day on December 10th, ILRF released our "Working for Scrooge: Worst Companies of 2009 for Right to Associate" report which included Kraft. Again, hundreds of you e-mailed Kraft and the other companies on the list. Days later, ILRF met with representatives from Kraft and began to establish a productive dialogue about protecting the right to organize of Kraft workers globally.
PT Busana Indah Global in Indonesia
Another important victory is shared with the workers at PT Busana Indah Global in Indonesia who were fired for forming a union in early 2009. In late December 2009, the workers were told that they would be reinstated in the new year. ILRF had reached out to key buyers including Target, Hanes, and Walmart. ILRF was in regular dialogue with Target and Hanes and it is clear that both of these companies played an important role in solving this dispute. ILRF stands in solidarity with workers all around the world and we are eager to see positive resolutions like this one in the future. More info about the settlement is available online here.
Pier 1 Imports and IKEA
In the Sweatshop Hall of Shame, ILRF named Pier 1 Imports for its lack of swift and meaningful action regarding the problems reported by Paul Yu workers in the Philippines and IKEA for its steadfast support of the management of Menderes Tekstil in Turkey rather than requiring the factory to sit down and negotiate with the workers that have formed a union. In both cases, Pier 1 Imports and IKEA has been in dialogue with ILRF but unfortunately neither company has taken the necessary steps to implement its code of conduct and support the right of all workers to form a union.
Your actions are working! Together we are making an impact, but there is still more work to do! For example, Abercrombie & Fitch, Fred's and Gymboree still have not made any public statements about forced child labor in Uzbek cotton. Please send these companies an e-mail here. If you already sent an e-mail, ask your friends to join you here.
If you use Twitter, you can help the campaign by posting this: "#abercrombie #freds #gymboree Stop using forced child labor! http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/Uzbekcotton" If you use Facebook, you can post this message on Abercrombie and Fitch and Gymboree's Facebook pages: "When will you STOP using cotton made by forced child labor? http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/Uzbekcotton."
Finally, you can spread the word about the victories you have helped to win and the work that lies ahead sharing this blog post with friends and posting a message like this on Twitter: "2009 brought BIG victories for worker rights, but #abercrombie #freds and #gymboree are still lagging behind! http://3bl.me/wa6b6d"