In our previous letter, we reported that there have been over 60 stories about local sweatfree campaigns published by the media in the past year. Again, we are proud to announce several of these significant victories. These include successful campaigns in:
Portland, Oregon: The Portland Sweatfree Campaign won a landmark sweatfree resolution, including a city commitment to join the State and Local Government Sweatfree Consortium. *
Austin, Texas: The Campaign to Make Texas Sweatfree got off to a successful start when Austin became sweatfree in June. Next up? It may be a race between San Antonio and Travis County. *
Albany, Schenectady, and New Paltz, New York: New York State Labor-Religion Coalition led successful initiatives to bring all these cities into the sweatfree movement. *
Maine: New legislation prompted by the Maine Clean Clothes Alliance will require state apparel vendors to pay a contract fee to help cover the cost of independent monitoring of factories that make apparel for the state. *
Los Angeles: The Los Angeles Sweatfree Coalition is continuing to guide the city in its pioneering work to monitor working conditions in factories that make city employee uniforms. *
Pittsburgh: Prompted by the Pittsburgh Anti-Sweatshop Community Alliance, the city conducted an audit of its sweatfree purchasing policy and concluded that corporate self-monitoring does not ensure good working conditions.
Our most significant step, however, was the launch of our national campaign for the State and Local Government Sweatfree Consortium. This Consortium will pool resources of public entities to investigate working conditions in factories that make uniforms and other products for public employees. Cities and states will hold vendors to the same standards, use the same independent monitor for enforcement, and create a market large enough to persuade companies to deal responsibly and ethically with their suppliers and workers.
We will launch the Consortium when public entities purchasing a combined $100 million in apparel have joined. We now are about half way there.
Since our previous message sent in September:
Labor-religion coalitions representing hundreds of thousands of workers and people of faith in New York and Maine have urged their states’ governors to join the State and Local Government Sweatfree Consortium and reach out to other governors to build the Consortium. *
The Massachusetts AFL-CIO endorsed the Massachusetts Sweatfree Campaign, bringing the campaign’s total number of organizational endorsers to 28. *
Child Labor Education and Action, a high school youth group in Brattleboro, Vermont, is launching a campaign to make the state sweatfree. *
And just yesterday, the City Council of Milwaukee, home to the Milwaukee Clean Clothes Campaign, voted unanimously to expand its sweatfree ordinance to cover all non-apparel products. That means everything from ammonia and road salt to trucks and boats to election equipment and furniture… and more.
While we can celebrate these gains which bring us closer to a sweatfree world, most of our cities and states continue to purchase from factories where conditions are as brutal and dehumanizing as ever.
You can help our campaign to end sweatshop labor succeed sooner rather than later. Please send a generous contribution today.
Thank you for your commitment to the sweatfree movement.
Bjorn Skorpen Claeson