For immediate release
July 30, 2008
Eric Sharfstein, UNITE HERE
Union Calls on Other States and Cities to Join the Anti-Sweatshop Group
New York – UNITE HERE welcomes the recent resolution by Governor Edward G. Rendell committing Pennsylvania to participate in the State and Local Government SweatFree Consortium. According to Governor Rendell, “taxpayer funds should not be used to support sweatshops that profit from the sale of goods while workers are denied basic human rights.” UNITE HERE urges him to encourage other governors and mayors to join the SweatFree Consortium, and calls upon other states and cities to stand with Pennsylvania in this effort to eliminate sweatshops from their uniform supply chains.
States, counties, cities and school districts purchase millions of dollars worth of uniforms and other apparel each year for their public sector workers. Many have expressed concern over the horrible sweatshop conditions that are common in the global apparel industry. Recognizing that public tax dollars should not subsidize sweatshop labor conditions, over 180 public entities in recent years have enacted “sweatfree” procurement rules which require that their uniforms be purchased from factories with decent working conditions.
Several cities and states have understood that their “sweatfree” procurement could be more effective if they worked together and pooled their resources, expertise, and purchasing power. The Sweatfree Consortium promises to be a major step forward in the fight against sweatshops. It will help to coordinate the efforts of state and local governments to enforce their commitments to cease purchasing from sweatshops through investigations of problem factories and cooperative purchasing from contractors that meet Consortium standards for decent labor conditions.
Please click here to read the text for Governor Rendell’s resolution.
UNITE HERE is a labor union representing 465,000 members in the apparel, textile, hotel, food service, gaming and laundry industries. www.unitehere.org