WASHINGTON — The AFL-CIO and United Students Against Sweatshops said Wednesday they have established a national partnership to collaborate on global solidarity campaigns, including ensuring safer working conditions in Bangladesh’s garment industry in the wake of two apparel factory tragedies that have claimed the lives of over 1,200 workers.
Combining forces, the nation’s largest union federation and largest youth-led campaign organization hope to have a broader outreach to improve working conditions in global industries, such as the garment industry, improve standards for university campus workers and protect the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining for workers around the world.
“The labor movement shares USAS’ values and vision for global solidarity and social justice,” said AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka. “Together, we are stronger and better positioned to meet the mutual goals and objectives of improving the lives of working people.”
USAS has affiliated locals on more than 150 campuses that run local and national campaigns seeking corporate accountability and turning the spotlight on poor working conditions, worker abuse and safety issues in the overseas garment factories where much collegiate apparel is produced.
“Whether it’s supporting Bangladeshi workers’ demand for safe workplaces or opposing [Wisconsin Gov.] Scott Walker’s attacks on public workers, it’s clear that our struggles are bound together,” said Lingran Kong, a member of USAS’ Coordinating Committee and a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Lingran said one of her organization’s biggest campaigns this year involves pressuring university presidents and chancellors to change their codes of conduct to require all collegiate licensees to adhere to improving safety and conditions in Bangladesh’s garment industry by signing the binding IndustriALL Global Union-led Accord on Fire and Building Safety. The accord has been signed by 87 retailers and apparel brands.
The Worker Rights Consortium estimates that more than 40 collegiate apparel brands source apparel from Bangladesh.
“The Rana Plaza [collapse] opened our eyes to how bad and rampant unsafe factories are,” Kong said. “One of the most basic rights people should have is to not have to perform unsafe work. With Rana, when workers went in and saw cracks in the building, they didn’t have a mechanism to refuse to work. That is why we have taken on this campaign.”
Kong said she chairs the university’s Labor Codes Licensing Compliance Committee and plans to meet with University of Wisconsin-Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank on Thursday, following a letter the Student Labor Action Coalition sent to Blank outlining systemic building and fire safety problems in Bangladesh, and imploring her to require collegiate licensees to sign onto the Bangladesh accord.
Exclusive: @britneyspears is continuing to expand her brand. The pop icon, who appears in @kenzo ’s latest campaign, is partnering with Epic Rights to launch a line of branded merchandise. Read @hernameislex ‘s story, link in bio. #wwdnews #britneyspears
The Duchess of Cambridge channeled Princess Diana’s look upon giving birth to Prince Harry, when she and the Duke of Cambridge departed the hospital with the new baby Prince this afternoon in London. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
The new Prince of Cambridge has arrived! The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posed with the 8-pound newborn. She wore a look from one of her go-to designers, @jennypackham. Tap link in bio for more. #wwdeye #princeofcambridge
Jewelry label @alisonlou has made a name for itself with fine jewelry that speaks to the Millennial market. Now @twallz21 reports that the label is bringing those playful ideas to a new affordable line of lucite hoops with the launch of Loucite by Alison Lou. Here’s a look from the line modeled by @emrata. #wwdaccessories
@sarahjessicaparker and @gilt are teaming up on a bridal ready-to-wear line. Tomorrow, Parker will launch SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker Bridal — and as part of the launch, Gilt will offer 15 exclusive styles from the SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker footwear collection that were designed to complement the new line. Made out of 10 styles, the line is designed for a variety of occasions, from bridal showers to receptions. Get more details on WWD.com #wwdfashion
A grooming moment between @tanfrance and @antoni last night at the The LGBT Community Center Trailblazer Awards honoring Anna Wintour, Ricky Martin and more. See more photos at WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
“It was a very surreal feeling. It wasn’t like we were in the studio together coming up with it — it’s more like he discovered it and loved it. I didn’t let myself get my hopes up, but then it happened it was very exciting,” said singer-songwriter @nombe on discovering that @pharrell would be using his song, “Cant Catch Me” on his HBO documentary series “Outpost.” The German-born singer — named Noah MacBeth — talked to WWD about feminism, using art as a platform for political expression and personal style. Read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
This season, denim is going west – in influence. Brands like @fathersdaughterla (pictured here), @tommyhilfiger Jeans, @levis and more are opting for raw, top-stitching styles. (Styled by @thealexbadia; 📷: @ryanplett)