Blog: December 2013

How the U.S. Government Can Follow Its Own Advice to Be a Responsible Consumer

Today, the New York Times reports child labor, blocked fire exits, unsafe buildings, forced overtime and a range of other illegal, unsafe, and abusive conditions for garment workers in factories in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Haiti, Mexico, and Thailand.  These factories have at least one thing in common: the United States government is a customer.   That means these abuses take place with the support of our tax dollars and are carried out in our names.  It also means the Obama administration “flouts its own advice” to private sector companies to use their purchasing power to improve working conditions in overseas garment factories.

Justice for Workers on International Migrants Day

December 18, International Migrants Day, is a day to reflect on the growing impact of worker migration and urge policies to protect these often vulnerable workers. The global economy is fueling a rise in workers leaving their homes in search of better opportunities. Also on the rise, sadly, is gross exploitation of an often vulnerable population, far from their homes and networks of support, and often reliant on their employers for their very right to remain in country.

Bangladesh garment factory crisis is a women's crisis

The crisis in the Bangladesh Apparel industry is really a women’s issue and something all advocates of women’s rights and equality should be deeply concerned about. To be clear, we are not talking here about individual cases of discrimination at work and the need for more equitable labor justice – although there is a need for improving that as well.

Our focus here is on systemic, society-wide discrimination and development strategies that have further entrenched that discrimination. These issues echo around the world in industry after industry built primarily on women’s labor. But they have been brought into stark relief in Bangladesh, where more than 1,200 workers – most of them women – have died during the last year due to negligence and disregard for their welfare.

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