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A guide to clothing brands and the way their garment workers are treated

Milosz Maslanka | Shutterstock

When the people who make your clothes can barely feed their kids, what can American shoppers do to help?

Amazon. The online purveyor of just about everything also has a clothing line, but according to the CCC, it has no policy on living wage and makes no mention of wages being enough to cover workers’ basic needs in their supplier code.

C&A. The company, based in Belgium, says that 36% of workers are covered by some form of collective bargaining agreement, “which is their way of measuring a living wage,” CCC says, skeptically.

Decathlon. The French company has a compliance program that monitors minimum wage or collectively bargained wage payment. But CCC said it “did not report any work that was significantly increasing workers’ wages and had no clear plan for how living wages could be paid.”

Fast Retailing. This Japanese company is working with Fair Labor Association’s Fair Compensation Program “to identify any gap towards living wage.” But the CCC says there is no evidence of any work to boost wages for workers.

Fruit of the Loom. The company, based in Bowling Green, Kentucky, did not respond to CCC’s survey but says on its website that it too is working with the FLA’s Fair Compensation Program. From what the CCC can gather, FotL’s responsibility “seems to be passed on to suppliers only.”

GAP. The San Francisco-based company did not respond to CCC and “has no clear program to address wages,” the group charges. GAP says it requires suppliers to “pay at least the legal minimum or industry wage, whichever is higher.”

G-Star. The Dutch company has been “doing some mapping of wages in their supply chain to understand the gaps and are developing a strategy.”

CCC: “More action is needed. … No brand seems to have made much progress with voluntary measures.”

Gucci. The Italian company is the only one to offer CCC any kind of evidence, saying that 95% of their manufacturers are based in Italy, and they pay a wage value negotiated in a national collective bargaining agreement in all suppliers. But this wage only covers a living wage in a limited number of cases, CCC says.

H&M. The Swedish company made news in 2013 when it promised to deliver a “fair living wage” to more than 850,000 workers in its 750 factories by the end of 2018. Has it delivered? CCC sees no evidence that it has.

Ulrika Isaksson, an H&M spokeswoman, told Aleteia that certain steps must be taken first to create the foundations necessary for systemic change. They include “empowering garment workers and making fair negotiations possible.”

“We are working together with 21 other brands and the global union IndustriALL, which represents garment workers, towards this goal.” IndustriALL represents people in more than 140 countries, working across the supply chains in mining, energy and manufacturing sectors at the global level.

Hugo Boss. The German company has wording about wages being enough to cover workers’ basic needs in their code of conduct, says CCC, “but that is where the action ends.”

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