ILRF announces Sweatshop Hall of Shame 2010

At the Menderes Tekstil Factory in Denizili, Turkey,  which produces bed linen for Walmart, Kohl’s, and Ikea, it was reported that workers associated with the union were illegally dismissed. In addition, unsafe working conditions led to the death of four workers.

N716583317_1352670_2172[1] The factory’s worker’s union TESKIF, requested ILRF to communicate with these U.S. brands but each company denied the problems. Some conducted private investigations but refused to release the findings.

For instance, IKEA commissioned an audit into labor conditions at Menderes and concluded there were no major problems. But trade unions and anti-sweatshop groups like the Clean Clothes Campaign were denied access to the results of the audit, raising serious concerns about the biased conclusions that often arise from a company’s self-commissioned audit.

Walmart and Kohl’s have each made little to no effort at improving labor conditions at the factory—instead they’ve promising to implement measures that would fail to make effective changes. Walmart signed a letter along with several of Menderes’ European brands that essentially voices support for the factory’s management and suggests no concern for intervening.

You can send a message directly to these companies expressing your outrage that they have allowed the workers in Turkey to be denied access to their basic rights according to international labor standards.  TAKE ACTION NOW!N716583317_1294704_8704[1]

The Hall of Shame was created as a counterpart to the Shop with a Conscience Guide–a list of “sweatfree” options for socially-conscious shoppers who would like to purchase clothing made under ethical conditions. Launched three years ago by ILRF and SweatFree Communities, the guide is a valuable resource for consumers to identify the fairest companies of them all.

Consumers have the power to stop the gross labor violations rampant within the apparel and textile industries by demanding companies end a production system that exploits workers in order to satiate corporate greed. In addition, companies must fully comply with their own corporate social responsibility commitments and take bigger strides towards establishing safe and ethical working conditions for their laborers.