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United Nations Expert confirms corporate monitoring is a farce!

June 4, 2009  |  Share

United Nations special representative John Ruggie, also a professor at Harvard University, reported to the United Nations Human Rights Council that even business leaders now confirm that their efforts at monitoring their supply chains have been "ineffective" and "unreliable."

"We keep hearing now, from just about everywhere"monitoring doesn't work," said U.N. expert John Ruggie.  "Just about everybody, at least off the record will tell you that monitoring of supplier factories doesn't work because people cheat." 
(See Women's Wear Daily, June 4, 2009)

The National Labor Committee has been documenting the miserable failure of voluntary corporate monitoring efforts for nearly 20 years.  Nothing will change until corporations are finally held legally accountable to respect local labor laws in the countries in which they produce, as well as the International Labor Organization's labor rights standards-no child labor, no forced labor, freedom of association, the right to organize a union and to bargain collectively, and decent working conditions.

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are all co-signers of an anti-sweatshop bill introduced by Senator Byron Dorgan in the Senate and Congressman Michael Michaud in the House.  In the last Congress, there were 26 co-sponsors in the Senate and 176 in the House of Representatives.  The United Steelworkers union has been deeply involved in reaching out to members of Congress.

If Barbie Doll can be legally protected, by intellectual property and copyright laws, we sure as heck ought to be able to provide similar legal protection to the 16-year-old girl in Indonesia who made Barbie.  As things stand now, corporate products-Barbie, Nike's Swoosh, Mickey Mouse-are all protected by enforceable laws backed up by sanctions.  But the corporations say that providing similar legal protections to the human beings who make the products would be an "impediment to free trade."

We do not have to allow this!  If a product is made by children, by forced labor, or is made under brutal sweatshop conditions by workers who are beaten, forced to work grueling hours while being cheated of their wages and denied the right to organize, then that product should be prohibited from being imported into the U.S., sold in the U.S. or exported.

The Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act will soon be re-introduced in the new Senate and House.  Please tell your members of Congress that human beings deserve to have at least the same legal protections as are currently afforded to corporate products and trademarks.  Our economy belongs to the American people every bit as much as it does to the corporations.

Let's end the race to the bottom in the global sweatshop economy! 

If you want to be more involved, please contact us.


Link:  "U.N. Expert Expresses Doubts on Monitoring," by John Zarocostas, Women's Wear Daily, June 4, 2009 

Learn more about the Anti-sweatshop legislation

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