‘Quality for All.’ Ethics When Forced?

Jesús Espinoza

Jesús Espinoza Press Secretary, AAM

North Carolina-based Badger Sportswear, whose athletic apparel can be found on college athletes and sports fans nationwide, no longer sources its goods from a clothing manufacturer that uses forced labor in Chinese internment camps that hold members of religious and ethnic minority groups.

We’re relieved to hear that Badger is finally ending its contract with the manufacturer, Hetian Taida Apparel, and hope that it will commit to ethical manufacturing by moving its production to the U.S. There are plenty of Made in USA companies ready to meet their needs. By moving its sourcing to the U.S., Badger would create jobs in communities that have long suffered from the outsourcing of America’s textile industry.

Despite Badger doing the right thing by no longer benefitting from Hetian Taida’s appalling labor practices, the company's decision seems a tad bit forced: It insists that Hetian Taida did not participate in forced labor.

An interesting assertion considering the Associated Press (AP) first began investigating the company’s sourcing when a Badger employee was filmed in what was tantamount to an internment camp of China’s Uighur and Kazakh communities.

In an NPR interview about the process of uncovering these practices, the AP’s Dake Kang said:

“So the initial clue was that there's actually state media reports which show a Badger employee actually accepting a television interview inside basically an internment camp. So that was an initial hint. […] They don't look like normal factories. They look like prisons. There is double barbed wire fencing, and there's posters lining it. They say things like learn to be grateful. Learn to be an upright person. There are surveillance cameras everywhere. As I was filming out of the car as we were passing by this facility, they spotted my camera. And they were yelling at us for us to stop, so we had to stop, and then we were detained."

“Quality for All.” That’s Badger’s slogan, but that quality shouldn’t come at the cost of immoral and illegal labor practices. Badger made the right choice when it decided to no longer source from Hetian Taida, but insisting that the manufacturer didn’t do anything wrong even after the AP exposed the conditions on the ground makes its “ethical” decision seem not as genuine as you’d hope. 

Read what AAM had to say when this story first broke in December.

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Human Service Workers at Persad Center Vote to Join the USW

From the USW

Workers at Persad Center, a human service organization that serves the LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS communities of the Pittsburgh area, voted last week to join the United Steelworkers (USW) union.

The unit of 24 workers, ranging from therapists and program coordinators to case managers and administrative staff, announced their union campaign as the Persad Staff Union last month and filed for an election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

“We care about our work and the communities we serve,” said Johanna Smith, Persad’s Development, Communications, and Events Associate. “We strongly believe this work and our connections to our clients will only improve now that we will be represented by a union.”

The Persad workers join the growing number of white-collar professionals organizing with the USW, especially in the Pittsburgh region. Their membership is also in line with the recent work the Steelworkers have been doing to engage LGBTQ+ members and improve contract language regarding issues that affect their lives.

“Workplaces are changing and evolving, and the labor movement is changing and evolving along with that,” said USW Vice President Fred Redmond, who oversees the union’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee as well as the USW Health Care Workers Council. “This campaign gives us an opportunity to diversify our great union while uplifting and empowering a group of workers who give their all for others.”

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work