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Update on China campaign: April 7, 1998

April, 07 1998 Share

 

250,000 Signatures Delivered to Congress

Press Conference Reaches Millions

China Report Distributed to Every Member of Congress

Disclosure Campaign Launched

Behind the Label: Made in China report

  • 250,000 people signed Holiday Season of Conscience petitions--filling 70 volumes two-and-a-half inches thick--which were presented to the U.S. Congress in March. (Those petitions are now on their way to the White House Task Force.)
  • At a very crowded Capitol Hill press conference--under the glare of a dozen tv cameras, with over 100 people present overflowing into the halls--on behalf of the U.S. Congress, Representatives Bernie SandersMarcy KapturNancy Pelosi and Peter DeFazio received the petitions, at the same time participating in the release of the National Labor Committee's report "Behind the Label: Made in China." 
  • The press conference reached millions of people. It was covered nationally on ABC World News This MorningCNN,Bloomberg, and Canada AM, and over two dozen local tv stations in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Boston, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and well as in Connecticut, Michigan and Pennsylvania. A dozen readion stations, including major local NPR affiliates and WOR covered the converence. There was also widespread print media coverage including the Washington PostJournal of Commerce,Financial TimesNewsdayBaltimore Sun, the Toledo BladeMinneapolis Star TribuneWomen's Wear Daily, theSouth Morning China Post; while Associated Press and Agence France Presse stories--along with other national wire services--ended up in newspapers in California, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and South Carolina.
  • Led by Representatives Pelosi, Sanders, Kaptur, DeFazio, Miller and Gephart, the NLC's China report is being distributed to every member of Congress.

From the Congress:

  • Speaking for the representatives participating in the press conference, Congressman Bernie Sanders said: "We accept these petitions with gratitude for your effort, and with the promise that we will work as hard as we can to fulfill the hopes and expectations of the people who signed these petitions." (See letter below.)
  • Endorsing the Disclosure Campaign: Bernie Sanders went on to say, "I strongly endorse the National Labor Committee's challenge to all of us as consumers to shop for a better world. But, for us to be able to do that, we as consumers need to have information largely not available to us today--which is why we need complete corporate disclosure of all foreign out-sourcing. American consumers want to know which companies are employing women and children in China, Vietnam, Haiti, Honduras and other countries who work for less than $1.00 a day."
  • Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi concurred, "American consumers have a right to know under what conditions the clothes they are purchasing were made. I am proud to endorse the National Corporate Disclosure campaign and call on corporate America to show its leadership by voluntarily taking the step to pull back the veil so that we may see if therein lies the face of a child." Referring to disclosure and independent monitoring, congressman Peter DeFazio stated, "That is something the American people tell us they're interested in. They want to see decent values projected and supported in the production of these goods."
  • Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur said she had "reached the point of complete frustration" with the major U.S. retailers.
  • Congressman George Miller said that the NLC report, "Behind the Label: Made in China," "should be a wake up call to all U.S. companies that have business interests in or contract with China for the production of goods."
  • The National Labor Committee hosted the visit of Hong Kong based independent human and labor rights organizations so that finally authentic voices from China could be heard at a critical moment as the administration, Congress, the White House Task Force and the multinationals debate labor rights conditions in China.

Asia Monitor Resource Center, China Labour Bulletin, Christian Industrial Committee and China Human Rights endorse the NLC's campaign for corporate disclosure.

  • What did Kathie Lee/Wal-Mart have to say about all this? Kathie Lee's spokesman referring to their production in China, reported, "We don't know if we do business in these plants, but if we do, we'll pull productions." What does that say of their monitoring system?
  • Wal-Mart, after admitting that two of the plants investigated by the NLC had passed certification inspections by Wal-Mart, stated, "The problems outlined by the National Labor Committee transcend Wal-Mart, Kathie Lee and the modern garment industry." That's how you sound when you are caught in the act again. In response to consumer outrage, Wal-Mart then set up a 1-800 number: WM-ETHICS. How touching!
  • Liz Claiborne said it "regrets that human and worker rights violations occur in factories in China and elsewhere."

Maybe the companies are beginning to get the message.

 


 

 

Congress letter to President regarding disclosure

 

Bernie Sanders, VT
Marcy Kaptur, OH

Co-Signers:
Tom Barrett, WI
David Bonior, MI
George Brown, Jr, CA
Sherrod Brown, OH
John Conyers, MI
William Coyne, PA
Rosa DeLauro, CT
Bob Filner, CA
Sam Gejdenson, CT
Luis Gutierrez, IL
Maurice Hinchey, NY
Sheila Jackson-Lee, TX
Dale Kildee, MI
Ron Klink, PA
Dennis Kucinich, OH
Tom Lantos, CA
Jim McGovern, MA
Cynthia McKinney, GA
George Miller, DA
Jerry Nadler, NY
Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC
James Oberstar, MN
John Olver, MA
Major Owens, NY
Glenn Poshard, IL
Carlos Romero-Barcelo, PR
Charles Schumer, NY
Jose Serrano, NY
Louis Stokes, OH
Esteban Torres, CA
Edolphus Towns, NY
James Traficant, OH
Nydia Velazquez, NY
Peter Visclosky, IN
Henry Waxman, CA