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Write a Letter to Timberland and Urge them to Respect Workers` Rights in China

April 3, 2008  |  Share

Model Letter

December 22, 2004

Mr. Jeffrey Swartz
President and CEO
Timberland Company
200 Domain Drive
Statham, NH 03885

Fax:  603-773-1640


Dear Mr. Swartz:

I am especially shocked during this holiday season by allegations of serious, widespread and systematic violations of fundamental human, women's and worker rights at the Kingmaker Footwear factory in China where your Timberland shoes are being produced.

These violations include:

  • 14 and 15-year-old children are illegally employed.
  • A 20-year-old woman in the moulding section was recently beaten by her group leader and is still hospitalized with at least one broken rib, and incredibly, the factory refuses to even pay for her medial expenses.
  • Over 50 women from the stitching department alone were poisoned in December after eating rotten factory cafeteria food, with management again refusing to pay the women's medical bills.
  • Workers have no health insurance, no maternity leave with benefits, no sick days, no annual vacation and no pension.
  • There is extreme, mandatory and illegal overtime which during the peak season can result in daily 16 to 17-hour shifts, seven days a week.
  • Workers are forced to work off the clock on Saturday and Sunday and are routinely shortchanged on the overtime wages legally due them.
  • Dorm conditions are also primitive with 16 workers in a single room and hot water available only after 9:00 p.m.
  • Workers making Timberland shoes live and work in fear, knowing that if they even dare raise the issue of illegal overtime hours and wages and other abuses, they would be immediately fired.

What makes these violations all the more shocking is that Timberland apparently has a full-time quality control staff representative stationed at the Kingmaker factory.  How is it possible that your staff person failed to see children working, women beaten, workers suffering food poisoning, excessive forced overtime, workers shortchanged on the wages legally due them, and the atmosphere of fear and lack of rights?

I endorse the concrete corrective steps outlined by the National Labor Committee and China Labor Watch to immediately address and correct these serious violations and look forward to your detailed response and plan of action to end these abuses once and for all.  Thank you.


Read the Timberland in China Report

Read the NLC-CLW Joint Letter to Timberland

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