On July 1st, the International Labor Rights Forum and Global Labor Justice officially merged into one dynamic organization. The Washington, DC based organizations, now united, will continue the fight for global worker justice at a time when it’s needed most. View their press release here: The International Labor Right Forum and Global Labor Justice Are Joining Forces to Defend Worker Rights and Build Worker Power in the Global Economy
During this time of uncertainty and unpredictable economic forecasts, it’s more necessary than ever to fight for workers’ rights around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has made working conditions for garment industry workers worse – many workers have lost their jobs, leaving them penniless while the multi-million dollar brands leave them hanging. Stories emerged about workers in India walking for days without food or water to return to their home villages since their workplaces had shut down. The pandemic is shining a light on these inequalities.
International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF)
The International Labor Rights Forum was founded in 1986 and has formed coalitions with unions, faith-based organizations, and community organizations to support their work. Their mission is to achieve dignity and justice for workers worldwide, and their work is threefold: to hold corporations accountable for labor rights violations, strengthen the laws and policies to protect workers, and increase workers’ ability to advocate for their rights.
Global Labor Justice (GLJ)
Global Labor Justice, created in 2017, works transnationally with grassroots migrant organizations to change policies that affect workers. Their series, Gender Justice on Garment Global Supply Chains: An Agenda to Transform Fast- Fashion, identified the issues facing workers and how to overcome them. It “provides a roadmap for international legal frameworks, criteria for corporate accountability initiatives, and a transformative new prevention approach from the Asia Floor Wage Alliance to end GBVH on garment production lines.”
Covid-19 and the Garment Industry
When world markets began to slump, it caused many factories to close because they were no longer getting payments from major brands like H&M and Levi’s. Executive decisions were made with no regard for the workers who keep the businesses afloat.
“At a time when state and corporate responses leave workers around the world in crisis — locked into dangerous working conditions or locked out of jobs with essential wages and benefits — it is clear we must work together to build durable transnational alliances that advance a new strategic vision with labor and human rights in the foreground.” -Jennifer Rosenbaum, Executive Director GLJ-ILRF
How to Support Global Workers
We are fortunate to have strong working relationships with many stand-up manufacturers walking the walk when it comes to protecting workers. Buying USA Made is more critical than ever. But we must not forget about our workers throughout the supply chain – both home and abroad.
Many of us buy USA Made products or look deeply into where our products come from. But what more can we do to ensure the safety and wellbeing of workers?
- Put pressure on corporations by contacting them through workers’ rights campaigns
- Support worker solidarity organizations like the International Labor Rights Forum, Global Worker Justice, Workers Rights Consortium and AFL-CIO’s Global Worker Rights
- Put in the work within your local community to make sure your favorite spots are sourcing ethical products (your workplace, school, or place of worship)