ANTI-SWEATSHOP BILL APPROVED IN NY ASSEMBLY

ALBANY — A bill aimed at fighting sweatshops passed the state Assembly Thursday night at the close of the legislative session.
The vote was 148 to 0.
Members of Gov. George E. Pataki’s staff said the governor probably would sign the bill, which would broaden the powers of the attorney general to restrain shipping, delivery, sale or purchase of apparel found to be made in sweatshops, and gives his office the right to sue for liability of nonpayment of wages. It would also require certain employers to deposit a surety bond to guarantee wages.
The measure also states that retailers can request an electronically transmitted assurance by a manufacturer or contractor that merchandise was made legally, thereby protecting the retailer from liability.
The legislation would authorize the commissioner of labor to affix a tag, no more than six inches long, that reads “unlawfully manufactured” on apparel or components manufactured or assembled by employees of sweatshops.
Co-sponsored by Sen. Nicholas Spano, a Westchester Republican, and Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, a Queens Democrat, the bill would require that photo identification accompany the registration form submitted by manufacturers and contractors in the apparel industry.
The bill passed the Senate June 10, and was expected to be the only sweatshop-related legislation to make it through both houses this session.

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