Workers who produced clothing for the manufacturers Liberty Apparel and Great Wall won despite the efforts of their employers to hide behind the sub-contracting system. Weak laws enabled the manufacturer Liberty Apparel to drag out the case for 10 years.
Many of these workers were often forced to work more than 100 hours a week to finish the manufacturers’ orders. Their successful battle against these sweatshop conditions have inspired many other workers, such as the Asian and Latino workers of Cache, to demand the companies reaping the most benefit off their labor are held responsible. Moreover, they have sparked the interest of lawmakers such as Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez to draft legislative changes to strengthen the accountability of garment manufacturers and retailers.
The call for garment manufacturer accountability now has implications for more of us now. Our working conditions are getting worse as subcontracting expands in many industries—construction, cleaning, education, law, freelancing and more.
President Obama’s health care bill will encourage even more subcontracting as a way for businesses to avoid having to pay for health insurance. The President’s plan will leverage fines for failure to provide health insurance only on businesses with 50 or more employees. More of us stand to lose health coverage and other benefits.
We can’t afford to wait. Together let’s build upon the Liberty Apparel and Great Wall workers’ victories to ensure that those benefiting the most off of sweatshop labor are held accountable. Join us in launching a national call for manufacturer and retailer accountability for the sweatshop conditions of their sub-contractors.
“Now, after 10 years, we have finally won our court case. As subcontracting is expanding across industries, this victory is an opportunity to hold all manufacturers accountable so workers do not have to go through what we did to get justice.” – Ling Nan, Liberty Apparel worker
What Can You Do?
- Join the Ain’t I a Woman?! Organizing committee
- Get your organization to endorse the Ain’t I a Woman?! Campaign
- Demand stronger manufacturer accountability legislation
- Invite us to speak at your school or organization
- Donate to the Ain’t I a Woman?! Campaign (c/o NMASS, P.O. Box 130293, N.Y., N.Y. 10013)
For more information, contact the National Mobilization Against SweatShops at (212) 358-0295.