We just returned from to the 7th Annual SweatFree Summit which took place in beautiful Olympia, Washington. Traditions Cafe did an awesome job of hosting it. The events included skill building workshops, testimonies from workers, reports from sweat free electronic campaigns in Europe (see Procure it Fair). and much, much more.
One of the best things was listening to Reynoldo Donastrong, a union organizer and former worker at the BJ & B factory in the Dominican Republic where he sewed collegiate apparel. Now Donastrong is the Secretary of Education at the FEDOTRAZONAS organization which provides technical support to workers and unions. Donastrong related the history of his involvement in sweatshops and mentioned how important United Students Against Sweatshops were in the successful struggle to get BJ & B workers back and severance pay. Now Donastrong is involved with the very exciting Alta Gracia factory which is the first manufacturing facility to be certified by the Worker Rights Consortium as paying a living wage.
Sweat Free Houston sponsored Carmen Duran’s appearance at the Summit. Ms. Duran was the subject of the documentary Maquilapolis (City of Factories) which provides a strong case against NAFTA. It is a must see film for anyone interested in women’s struggles, environmental justice, sweatshops and community organizing.
We filmed the panel Ms. Duran took part in. You can watch it in two segments right here:
Watch part 2 here:
We’re a little tardy in posting endorsements for our campaign but now we are catching up. Worklife Institute became the 95th organization to endorse our campaign and even sent a letter to the mayor. Check out their letter:
Also Houston Council on Occupational Safety & Health (COSH) which is an affiliate of the National Cosh also supports and endorses our campaign. They sent a letter to the Mayor also:
It’s not too early to register for the 2010 National Sweat Free Summit. Activists from around the world will be traveling to Olympia, Washington for workshops. We will also celebrate the Seattle Sweat Free campaign’s recent win! Check out the ordinance making the City of Seattle sweat free!
One of the featured speakers, Carmen Duran:
The Dominican Sisters of Houston have joined our coalition and endorsed our campaign to get the City of Houston to pass a sweat free purchasing ordinance. They are the 91st organization to join up with our Sweat Free Coalition.
Last year (2009) the City spent almost 3 million dollars on apparel purchases and unfortunately all of them were made in sweatshops. If your organization is interested in joining our coalition, give us a call at 832.771.7263 or email us @ sweatfreehouston (at) gmail (dot) com. Thanks!
Hey folks, SweatFree Communities are an awesome non-profit that has been kicking butt for seven years. SweatFree Communities facilitates the sharing of resources and information and is at the forefront of the national sweatfree movement. They have held four national conferences and support and coordinate dozens of local sweatfree purchasing campaigns. They link those campaigns to workers who are organizing to improve their conditions.
Right now they’re in the midst of organizing a worker tour. Read more about that here. Sweat Free Houston’s campaign is staying a float so far because we’re volunteers working out of our houses and because of our successful benefit show that will keep us going awhile. But SweatFree Communities could use your support. They have full time employees and times are tough in this economy. Become a sustainer for as little $20 a month. Click here to donate. You’ll be glad you did!