WASHINGTON — United States and European Union labor officials this week agreed to hold a symposium next year with garment industry officials from both regions to discuss manufacturing codes of conduct.
Labor Secretary Alexis Herman, meeting in Paris with European Union Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs Padraig Flynn, set the meeting for February at a still undecided location in Europe.
At the symposium, manufacturers will share experiences regarding voluntary garment industry codes of conduct designed to govern conditions at factories and contractors.
In announcing the meeting, Herman touted the work of the White House anti-sweatshop task force, which has developed a code of conduct that it wants United States apparel and footwear makers to follow in their factories and contractors worldwide.
The task force, known as the Apparel Industry Partnership, is working on further plans to implement the code through an association of industry, labor and human rights groups. The association would then oversee a complex monitoring system in which member companies, as well as outside inspectors, would insure that factories followed the code.
“The Apparel Industry Partnership will help make the global economy grow in a way that insures that workers share in the benefits of that growth,” Herman said in a statement.
Herman and Flynn met Tuesday while attending the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ministerial meeting on labor market policies.
At their meeting, Flynn also shared with Herman the European Union’s draft guidelines concerning employment policies, linking them to economic policies.
In addition, the two labor officials discussed sharing information and holding a summit next year about increasing employment for the disabled.

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