By Eric Dirnbach
Sweatshop working conditions have long been documented in the global apparel supply chain, including in factories that make public sector uniforms. Recently an investigation of a factory in the Dominican Republic that supplied uniforms to the City and County of San Francisco uncovered many problems, including sexual and verbal harassment, underpayment of wages, and occupational safety violations (see the Labor Rights Hotspot in the July issue of the Consortium’s newsletter). Many cities and states have “sweatfree” procurement laws that require decent working conditions in the factories that supply their apparel, and the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium was formed in 2010 to assist them in this effort. The Consortium facilitates the sharing of information, resources, and best practices to increase the effectiveness of sweatfree purchasing.
Many public entities have asked for better guidance in drafting sweatfree procurement laws to ensure their maximum effectiveness. The Consortium recently took an important step forward toward this goal. The newly elected Board of Directors approved a new Sweatfree Model Policy. The result of many months of research and discussions with experts and stakeholders, this Policy is a recommendation of language for cities and states to consider when crafting their sweatfree procurement laws and rules.