NEW YORK — Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell was expected to sign an executive order Thursday evening establishing an “Anti-Sweatshop Procurement Policy” for all apparel and other uniforms bought by the state.

The order mandates that the state will only buy apparel — as well as laundry services — from vendors that pay the legal minimum wage in the country where they are located or a rate of pay that’s at least the equivalent of the country’s poverty threshold. It also requires the state to publicly disclose the names and addresses of all apparel and laundry contractors with which it does business.

The order does not apply to uniforms produced for the state by inmates in the state correctional system. It also does not require the state to buy from U.S. manufacturers.

“There is no justifiable reason why the government should purchase goods from any company that violates our wage and workplace safety laws,” Rendell said in an advance copy of his comments.

According to a draft of the order provided to WWD, it holds that “the public interest requires that the Commonwealth use its stature and leadership as a market participant to promote fair treatment of the workforce and the elimination of sweatshop conditions.”

In a statement, UNITE president Bruce Raynor said, “Now, other municipalities and public authorities in Pennsylvania, and throughout the nation, should follow Gov. Rendell’s lead and adopt policies that make sure that our tax dollars do not support sweatshops.”

In September, New York Gov. George E. Pataki vetoed a similar proposal. He called it “well-intentioned” at the time, but said he was concerned with “serious technical flaws.” Also that month, he approved a bill allowing public colleges and school districts to turn away bids from sweatshop vendors even if they were the lowest bids.

In 2002, New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevy ordered that the state’s uniforms be made in the U.S.

To continue reading this article...

To Read the Full Article
SUBSCRIBE NOW

Tap into our Global Network

Of Industry Leaders and Designers

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus