Fair Labor Association

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The Fair Labor Association (FLA) "initiative is designed to complement international and national efforts to promote respect for labor rights."

"The FLA represents a multi-stakeholder coalition of companies, universities and NGOs. There are currently 20 leading brand-name companies participating in the FLA. These are adidas AG, Asics, Eddie Bauer, Drew Pearson Marketing, GEAR for Sports, Gildan Activewear, H&M, Liz Claiborne, Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), New Era Cap, Nordstrom, Nike, Outdoor Cap, Patagonia, Phillips-Van Heusen, PUMA, Reebok, Top of the World, Twins Enterprise, and Zephyr Graf-X. These companies have committed to a rigorous program of Workplace Standards implementation, monitoring and remediation in order to bring their manufacturing sites into compliance with FLA standards." [1]

Precursor to the FLA - the AIP

Clinton convened the Apparel Industry Partnership (AIP) in 1996, after the National Labor Committee's report on Kathie Lee Gifford's K-Mart clothing created an uproar. The AIP talk-shop could have followed the pattern of the Clinton panel on race relations: a few resume-padding appointments, some medium-profile discussions and the issuance of a bland report. [2]The AIP, however, would not go away - effectively neutralizing the unions that could have mobilized important support for consumers seeking meaningful changes in overseas sweatshops.

A year after consumer outrage had subsided, the Partnership morphed into the Fair Labor Association (FLA); the unions and the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility departed, at this point, but it mattered little, since the sweatshop firms had changed the media frame from "abusive contractors in repressive countries" to "look at what we are doing with our Code of Conduct".

A Patagonia representative present at the creation of the FLA told the Oregonian newspaper that it was Nike's trade lobbyist in Washington, Brad Figel, that "kept everyone at the table" when Clinton's initiative was dying from lack of interest [3](of course, no other company needed the cover the way Nike did). The FLA was given $1.5 million from Nike in 2003 -- when it settled the Kasky corporate right-to-lie case.

NGO Advisory Council



Industry Representatives

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) Representatives

  • Marsha Dickson - Educators for Socially Responsible Apparel Business - Term ends: Dec 2008
  • Mike Posner - Human Rights First - Term ends: Dec 2009
  • Linda Golodner - National Consumers League - Term ends: Dec 2007
  • Jim Silk - Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights - Term ends: Dec 2007
  • Pharis Harvey - Former Director, International Labor Rights Fund - Term ends: Dec 2008
  • One seat vacant

University Representatives

  • Karen Daubert (Washington University in St. Louis), Derek Lochbaum (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), and Maureen Riedel (The Penn State University) have been elected to the Board with terms beginning June 1, 2007. At that time, Liz Kennedy and Rick van Brimmer's terms will expire and universities will have a full complement of six representatives on the Board.




Web: http://www.fairlabor.org

Resources and articles

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