The holidays are just around the corner. As we sit down to plan our festivities and gifts for our loved ones, let’s take a moment to recognize the people who made the toys, the sweaters, the electronics we lovingly wrap and place under the Christmas tree.
But who are these people?
Many products on sale in the U.S. are made overseas by adults and children who toil for 12 hours or more a day, six to six and a half days a week in sweltering heat making as little as 50 cents an hour. U.S. corporations have been exploiting workers in these countries with weak labor laws that allow them to pay employees very little and get away with causing injuries or deaths in the workplace. Little progress in safety improvements following the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh in 2013 that killed 1,000 people and injured 2,000 others is a reminder that, unless consumers come together and demand fair wages and decent working conditions for these workers, more injuries and deaths will continue
Companies need to take a step to prevent future tragedies
The Human Rights Watch earlier this year released a report on companies and their responses to a request to help put an end to sweatshop labor. A coalition of human rights and labor rights advocates had reached out to 72 companies and asked them to adopt the Transparency Pledge, which called on them to publish information identifying the factories that produce their goods, addressing a key obstacle to rooting out abusive labor practices, and helping to prevent a tragedy like the Rana Plaza collapse.
Companies offered a varying degree of commitment, ranging from “full pledge” to “in the right direction” to “small steps” to “no commitment.”
Below are the companies that either did not respond to the coalition or did not offer a commitment to disclose their supply chains.
AFGE demands that the companies take the Transparency Pledge to publish standardized, meaningful information on all factories in the manufacturing phrase in their supply chains:
See the full list of companies and their responses here.
As union members and consumers, AFGE members stand united with working people around the world to call for safe workplaces and an end to sweatshop labor.