Resolution 2000.08 Sweatshops

Whereas, Globalization and decentralization of manufacturing have resulted in many clothing workers labouring in unsafe, discriminatory, abusive and repressive working conditions for unjust wages, and

Whereas, Many consumers are unaware of the sweatshop conditions behind the clothing labels, and

Whereas, Although government-sponsored negotiations between retailers and manufacturers and the Ethical Trading Action Group for a Canadian-based code of labour practices have been unsuccessful, students at the University of Toronto achieved a ground-breaking code of conduct to ensure that university-licensed apparel will be made under humane conditions, therefore be it

Resolved, That the national council of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada in 80th annual national convention assembled, request the federal government to reconvene the Canadian Partnership for Ethical Trading (CPET) to develop a meaningful code of conduct, and be it further

Resolved, That the national council of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada in 80th annual national convention assembled, communicate its concerns regarding sweatshop abuses to the Retail Council of Canada, and be it further

Resolved, That the national council of The Catholic Women’s League of Canada in 80th annual national convention assembled, urge members to become aware of the labour practices represented by the clothing labels; to make retailers aware of their desire to buy products that are independently verified to be free of sweatshop abuses; to work with teachers, school boards, and other educational institutions to adopt policies (codes of conduct) that ensure that school uniforms and other bulk-purchased school apparel are made under humane working conditions.

Detailed Action Plan
Become informed regarding sweat shop abuses.
Write the federal government, MPs, MLAs or MNAs urging them to be a strong voice to develop a meaningful code of conduct for the industry.
Communicate your concerns to the Retail Council of Canada and your favourite retailers.
When shopping, speak to retailers to inquire if the goods they sell are made with sweat labour. If they are, inquire further to find out what, if anything, they are doing to improve conditions. Refuse to shop at retailers who are doing nothing to improve sweat shop conditions.
Learn about sweat shops in Canada and network with garment workers near you.
Copy the Living Will Pay Cheque and follow instructions given.
Work with school officials, superintendents, trustees, teachers and principals to adopt policies which ensure that school uniforms and other bulk-purchased school apparel are made under humane working conditions.
Have your local community access TV station help you produce a program on sweat shops.
Contact Ten Days for Global Justice, 947 Queen Street, E, Toronto, ON, M4M 1J9. They offer a wealth of information and ideas. Order their Education and Action Guide. Inquire about the Ten Days for Global Justice-Labour Behind the Label Coalition regarding their Wear Fair Campaign.
Contact Maquila Solidarity Network, 606 Shaw Street, Toronto, ON, M6G 3L6. They also offer a wealth of information and ideas. Order the new Labour Behind the Label education/action kit. Special rates are available for bulk orders.