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Project Enforcing Sweat-Free Ordinances

Currently hundreds of millions of dollars in public funds are spent by public agencies on garments and other goods produced in sweatshops in California, Central America and in South Asia. As a Senior Fellow at the Oakland Institute, Senator Tom Hayden, is working on developing enforceable "sweatfree" guidelines, prohibiting any procurement by local agencies from contractors and subcontractors exploiting child labor or sweatshop labor.

Such guidelines have already been adopted in legislation by the State of California (Sec. 6108, Public Contact Code, 2003), the Los Angeles Unified School District (2004), and are expected to be adopted by the Los Angeles City Council in 2004. The guidelines were drafted and promoted through a coalition of labor, clergy, student and activist organizations in Los Angeles, associated with a national coalition known as No More Sweatshops!, under the direction of Senator Hayden.*

This campaign will achieve the following purposes:

(1) Create centers of public education and activism around sweatshops and the global economy
(2) Push the issues onto the public agendas of elected government bodies
(3)Alter the flow of public procurement dollars away from abusive labor conditions, making government a "model" employer in the marketplace.

Our purpose is to build activist coalitions to pass "sweat-free" guidelines in several counties of the Bay Area, beginning with Alameda and San Francisco counties. While the primary purpose of the project is to create a successful model for public sector intervention where labor markets have failed, the project also is intended to stimulate citizen action around sweatshop abuses and to focus greater public attention on the linkages between sweatshops and global trade rules, thus broadening the base and effectiveness of the global justice movement.

(The coalition included UNITE, the LA County Labor Federation, the Garment Workers Center, the California Council of Churches, United Methodist Women, Progressive Jewish Alliance, and many others).