Wednesday, September 30, 2009

SweatFree Communities

This arrived in my in-box today. If you have a minute, please vote

Your vote for SweatFree Communities for a human rights award can also bring justice to workers in China. Both are within reach and you can make it happen if you vote by October 5. We just need your attention for one minute.

In May an investigation commissioned by the Milwaukee Clean Clothes Campaign revealed severe labor violations in a factory in China that supplies a major police uniform brand seeking a Milwaukee contract. Thanks to its sweatfree policy, the City requires not just legal minimum wages for workers but non-poverty wages that are almost twice as high. However, the investigation showed that some workers earn less than even the legal minimum.

Now the company has disclosed payroll information for 20 workers they say would make the Milwaukee police uniforms, indicating that they are paid nearly twice what other workers receive. Workers in China are often coached to lie to auditors and sometimes factories keep double books. The only way to find out whether the company is telling the truth is to talk to the workers and earn their trust. That takes time and costs money.

We are not asking you for money. We are asking for your vote. SweatFree Communities has a very good chance to win Global Exchange's Human Rights Hero competition which carries a $1,000 prize. Currently we're third in the competition and we need your help to push us over the top.

If we win, we will use the award to fund an independent investigation of the company's wage claims. Whatever the result, the investigation will be a win for workers. Either this company has done what no other has ever done before: doubling wages to qualify for a sweatfree contract and thereby proving they can make a profit AND pay workers a living wage. That should be celebrated as a first step to decent wages in the global economy. Or we will have the evidence to eliminate an undeserving bidder from the competition for public contracts.

Vote SFC. Help bring justice to workers.

Thank you,
Bjorn Claeson
Executive Director

PS. Remember to vote by October 5. After you vote, make sure to click the link in the automated email that you'll receive to confirm your vote.

Use facebook to spread the word - post this note in your profile:

I voted for SweatFree Communities as my Human Rights Hero. Want to help stop sweatshops? Vote by October 5th:

PPS. Planning to attend the National SweatFree Summit (Nov. 6-8 in Washington D.C.)? Please register soon! Need a travel scholarship? Contact us for more info.Proverbs 31:8-9

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