Press Releases

For media inquiries please contact Rachel Cohen: racohen78 [at]

Hershey's Transgressions Mount on World Day Against Child Labor

Advocacy groups unite to appeal to Hershey’s leadership to honor Milton Hershey’s legacy and protect children, students, and guestworkers

Leaders of several prominent human rights, consumer, and healthcare groups spoke out today in an appeal to Hershey’s leadership demanding reforms to the candy maker’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices, including the company’s ongoing use of abusive child labor in cocoa production. This appeal coincides with World Day Against Child Labor, a global effort to raise awareness of the issue of child labor, organized by the UN’s International Labor Organization (ILO). 

Bangladesh: Investigate Killing of Labor Activist


Union Organizer Aminul Islam’s Body Bore Signs of Torture

(New York, April 12, 2012) –­ The Bangladesh authorities should  immediately and impartially investigate the killing of the labor rights activist Aminul Islam, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed. Islam, 39, was a trade union organizer with the Bangladesh Center for Workers Solidarity (BCWS).

Rights Groups Decry Murder of Noted Labor Rights Activist in Bangladesh

Local police found body bearing signs of brutal torture, former apparel worker had received numerous death threats & been detained & tortured by Bangladeshi security services in 2010

A Bangladeshi labor rights activist and former apparel worker was tortured and murdered last week in Dhaka. His body was dumped outside of the capital city and was found by local police last Thursday.  According to the police report, Aminul Islam's body bore signs of brutal torture. Aminul's family, who had been searching for him since he disappeared last Wednesday, identified him on Saturday from photos appearing in local newspapers.

Raise the Bar Coalition to Hershey and Cadbury: Get Child Slave Labor Out Of Our Easter Baskets

Popular Easter chocolate offerings tainted by child labor; over 5,000 consumers sign petition to Hershey and Cadbury/Kraft CEO's

The "Raise the Bar, Hershey!" Coalition which has called on The Hershey Company to remove forced child labor from its products has an additional target this Easter: Cadbury/Kraft.

WRC on PVH's Bangladesh Fire Safety Agreement


Phillips Van- Heusen (PVH), which operates Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and other apparel brands, has made an unprecedented set of commitments to protect apparel workers in Bangladesh from the grievous safety hazards that have taken hundreds of lives in recent years. The agreement between PVH and labor rights organizations and unions in Bangladesh and internationally is a vital step forward for workers in Bangladesh.

PVH Corp. Announces Landmark Agreement with Coalition of NGOs and Bangladesh Labor Unions on Fire and Building Safety


PVH is the initial company to commit to this first-of-its-kind program

NEW YORK, Mar 21, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- PVH Corp. [NYSE: PVH] announced today that it has entered into a Joint Memorandum of Understanding with a group of non-governmental organizations consisting of Clean Clothes Campaign, Worker Rights Consortium, The International Labor Rights Forum, and Maquila Solidarity Network, as well as a group of eight international and Bangladeshi trade unions, regarding fire and building safety in Bangladesh’s apparel factories.

Hershey's to be Called-Out for Alleged Use of Forced Child Labor in Ad at Super Bowl


Rights Watchdog Wants Chocolate-Maker to Stop Exploiting Children

Hershey’s use of forced child labor will be the subject of a commercial titled “Hershey’s Chocolate: Kissed by Child Labor.” The first-ever Super Bowl “brand-jamming” ad will appear on a jumbotron screen immediately outside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, where the game will be played on Sunday, February 5th, alongside spots by McDonalds, AllState, and others. The commercial is expected to reach over 250,000 consumers attending Super Bowl day activities.

“More Unionists Were Killed”: Alliance of Progressive Labor Testifies in Washington Hearing


Washington, DC --   On the second day of the 2011 Annual Review of Country Practices conducted by the US Trade Representative for the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), the Secretary-General of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), refuted claims of the Philippine government representatives that it has done a lot to resolve the trade union killings.  

Working for Scrooge: This Year’s Worst Companies to Work for if You Want the Right to Join a Union


Contact: Judy Gearhart, 202-347-4100 x106

December 20, 2011-- Hershey’s, Dole, Wal-Mart and Philippine Airlines top ILRF’s list of the “Worst Companies to Work for if You Want the Right to Join a Union,” according to a new report released today by the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), a leading labor rights watchdog based in Washington, DC. The corporations on ILRF’s list use intimidation and sometimes violence, in the U.S. and abroad, to violate workers’ internationally recognized right to organize.

Labor and Consumer Groups Call on US Government to Improve Procurement Tool in the Fight Against Forced Child Labor Globally

US Gov Spends Billions Each Year on Secondary Products Like Chocolate and Uniforms Potentially Made with Exploitative Child Labor; Groups Seek to Close Loophole and Prevent Contractors From Potentially Selling Goods Made with Forced Child Labor to Gov

This week a coalition of twenty-four organizations representing organized labor, religious communities, socially responsible businesses, and consumers shared with the US Department of Labor a vision on how the US Government could do more to ensure that taxpayer dollars don’t support forced child labor.

Costumed Activists To Give Hershey More Than 100,000 Signatures Demanding a Commitment to Child Labor-Free Cocoa by Halloween


Hershey customers aim to "scare" the company into using fair trade cocoa by Halloween

HERSHEY, Pa. -- Hershey customers and ethical cocoa advocates delivered more than 100,000 petition signatures to Hershey's corporate headquarters today calling on the company to commit to buying ethically produced cocoa.

Free2Work Launches Barcode Scanning App 2.0, Increasing Consumer Power


San Francisco, CA-- Free2Work today announced the launch of App 2.0, the latest iteration of the powerful consumer information platform for iPhone and Android, increasing transparency in supply chains worldwide.

The mobile application equips consumers with valuable information on companies’ labor standards and production practices at the moment they need it most – while they shop.

Mars and Fairtrade International Announce Collaboration


MALTESERS® to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark in UK/Ireland in 2012, Mars to provide more than $1 million annually in Fairtrade Premiums to farmers' co-operatives in West Africa

MT. OLIVE, N.J. and BONN, Del., Sept. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Mars Chocolate and Fairtrade International today announced a new agreement to introduce the first Fairtrade labeled Mars product and to work together to enable farmers to have sustainable livelihoods and substantially increased productivity.

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk Announces Next Step in Labor Rights Enforcement Case against Guatemala


Washington, D.C. —United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk today announced that the U.S. is taking the next step in a dispute regarding the Government of Guatemala’s apparent failure to effectively enforce its labor laws by requesting the establishment of an arbitral panel under the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR). The United States requested formal consultations in July 2010 regarding the issues in this case.

Prominent Labor Rights Organization Welcomes Judy Gearhart as New Director


The International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) is pleased to welcome Judy Gearhart as the organization’s new Executive Director following former director Bama Athreya’s transition to the Global Works Foundation.  ILRF will continue to strengthen its efforts to promote just and humane treatment for workers worldwide under the new leadership of Gearhart.

Statement Concerning the Release from Jail of BCWS Leaders


We have received confirmation that Kalpona Akter, Babul Akhter, and Aminul Islam of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS) were released from the Dhaka Central Prison by the Bangladeshi authorities at about 10pm Dhaka time September 10th, at the start of the Eid Festival which marks the end of Ramadan. Their release was secured following the granting of bail on all charges during a special hearing by a magistrate judge on Wednesday, September 8. Upon their release, the BCWS leaders expressed a “heartfelt thanks” to all who have supported them.