AFSCME Resolution Opposing Sweatshops

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Washington DC,


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Type: Resolution

Status: Adopted in June 1996

Source File:


WHEREAS: The sweatshop has returned to the garment industry in America; and

WHEREAS: Many garment workers, most of them immigrants and women, toil in exploitive working conditions which have not been seen in this country since the turn of the century; and

WHEREAS: They work long hours for sub-minimum wages in unsafe workplaces, unaware of their rights or afraid to assert those rights; and

WHEREAS: Sweatshops are part of the underground economy, operating in violation of many laws; and

WHEREAS: The sweatshop, an extreme example of the decline of wages and working conditions that so many workers in this country face, is a product of the globalization of the garment industry; and

WHEREAS: The Department of Labor has found numerous labor violations but has been hampered in its enforcement efforts because of budget cutbacks; and

WHEREAS: AFSCME believes that all workers should be provided with livable wages, good benefits and safe working conditions.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That AFSCME councils and locals join with other labor unions, consumer groups, business and other organizations in the public education campaign, Stop Sweatshops: A Partnership For Responsibility, to end sweatshops and protect workers' rights in the U.S. and throughout the world; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That AFSCME councils and locals support federal legislation which would strengthen the Fair Labor Standards Act by adding a new section on civil liability on the part of the manufacturer and the contractor for violations of the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Act, for violations of the prohibition on child labor, and for violations of regulatory restrictions on work and home; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That the Act be amended to provide that a manufacturer, or a retailer acting as a manufacturer, may be liable to employees seeking redress for wage and hour violations when the contractor is engaged in the production of garments for the manufacturer at the time the violation occurs; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That there should be a provision for civil penalties for failure to maintain payroll records as required by law and for submission of fraudulent records to enforcement agencies; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED: That AFSCME councils and locals take the pledge to buy only from businesses that say "NO" to sweatshops and refuse to purchase sweatshop products from those businesses who sell them.