‘Quality for All.’ Ethics When Forced?

Jesús Espinoza

Jesús Espinoza Press Secretary, AAM

North Carolina-based Badger Sportswear, whose athletic apparel can be found on college athletes and sports fans nationwide, no longer sources its goods from a clothing manufacturer that uses forced labor in Chinese internment camps that hold members of religious and ethnic minority groups.

We’re relieved to hear that Badger is finally ending its contract with the manufacturer, Hetian Taida Apparel, and hope that it will commit to ethical manufacturing by moving its production to the U.S. There are plenty of Made in USA companies ready to meet their needs. By moving its sourcing to the U.S., Badger would create jobs in communities that have long suffered from the outsourcing of America’s textile industry.

Despite Badger doing the right thing by no longer benefitting from Hetian Taida’s appalling labor practices, the company's decision seems a tad bit forced: It insists that Hetian Taida did not participate in forced labor.

An interesting assertion considering the Associated Press (AP) first began investigating the company’s sourcing when a Badger employee was filmed in what was tantamount to an internment camp of China’s Uighur and Kazakh communities.

In an NPR interview about the process of uncovering these practices, the AP’s Dake Kang said:

“So the initial clue was that there's actually state media reports which show a Badger employee actually accepting a television interview inside basically an internment camp. So that was an initial hint. […] They don't look like normal factories. They look like prisons. There is double barbed wire fencing, and there's posters lining it. They say things like learn to be grateful. Learn to be an upright person. There are surveillance cameras everywhere. As I was filming out of the car as we were passing by this facility, they spotted my camera. And they were yelling at us for us to stop, so we had to stop, and then we were detained."

“Quality for All.” That’s Badger’s slogan, but that quality shouldn’t come at the cost of immoral and illegal labor practices. Badger made the right choice when it decided to no longer source from Hetian Taida, but insisting that the manufacturer didn’t do anything wrong even after the AP exposed the conditions on the ground makes its “ethical” decision seem not as genuine as you’d hope. 

Read what AAM had to say when this story first broke in December.

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Steel for Wind Power

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

Siemens Gamesa last month laid off 130 workers at its turbine blade manufacturing plant in Iowa, just months after GE Renewable Energy decided to close an Arkansas factory and eliminate 470 jobs.

The companies reported shrinking demand for their products, even though U.S. consumption of wind energy increases every year.

America’s prosperity depends not only on harnessing this crucial energy source but also ensuring that highly skilled U.S. workers build the components with the cleanest technology available.

Right now, the nation relies on imported steel and turbine components from foreign manufacturers like China while America’s own steel industry—well equipped for this production—struggles because of dumping and other unfair trade practices.

Steel makes up the bulk of turbine hubs and the wind towers themselves. It’s also used to make the cranes and platforms necessary for installing the towers.

Yet the potential boon to America’s steel industry is just one reason to ramp up domestic production of wind energy infrastructure.

American steel production ranks among the cleanest in the world, while China has the highest carbon emissions of any steelmaking nation and flouts environmental regulations.

The nation’s highly-skilled steelmaking workforce must play an essential role in the deeply-needed revitalization and modernization of the nation’s failing infrastructure. Producing the components for harnessing wind energy domestically and cleanly is an important step that will put Americans to work and position the United States to be world leaders in this growing industry.

 

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work