Sweat Free Houston

Working to make the City of Houston sweatshop free.

City of Houston linked to sweatshop use

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An examination of the recent City of Houston uniform purchases has shown that the City has been doing business with companies that use sweatshop labor to produce their clothing. The City spends an enormous amount of money purchasing garments. In 2009, the City spent 2,831,905.15 dollars on uniform purchases.  Here is a list of every piece of clothing the City of Houston purchased last year. We obtained that data by using the Texas Public Information Act.

The brands of clothing the City purchased include Dickies, Port Authority, Hanes, Edwards, Hartwell, and Propper.

Unfortunately the reality in worldwide apparel manufacturing is that unless clothes are union made, or a made in one the very few cooperatives or worker owned facilities, you can be 99.99% sure that they are made under sweatshop conditions. Let’s go over just some of the evidence, the City of Houston vendor Dickies, for example, has been caught using sweatshops to manufacture its clothes. Page 17 of  Sweat Free Communities report Subsidizing Sweatshops II shows that Dickies has been using sweatshops in Mexico.  Starting on page 43, the same report discusses the sweatshops Dickies uses in Honduras. Abuses ranged from union repression, and poverty wages to excessive work hours. Pull up that report right here:  sweatshop report

The city vendor Propper has been linked to sweatshop abuses in factories it uses in the Dominican Republic. Look at page 18 of this report. The report includes direct testimony from the workers in their factories.

Hanes is notorious for sweatshop use also. The Worker Rights Consortium reported in 2008 about violations in factories that Hanes uses in the Dominican Republic. Read that report here.

The bottom line is that the City of Houston needs to address its oversights in the way it makes its apparel purchases. The way to do that is to pass a sweatfree ordinance just like 39 other cities have. We need your help to make Houston purchase ethical clothes. Get involved with how your tax dollars are spent by contacting us at sweatfreehouston (at) gmail (dot) com.


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