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Report: Sweatshop Workers Made Wal-Mart Ornaments

New York Sun |  By  | December, 13 2007 |  Share  | Source Article

Christmas ornaments made in a factory in China and sold at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. were produced in sweatshop conditions, a report by a labor advocacy group said.

The National Labor Committee based its allegations on smuggled videotapes, documents, and interviews with workers from the Guangzhou Huanya Gift Ltd. Co. in Guangdong province. The group said employees included children who were forced to work 16-hour shifts and were paid below the Chinese minimum wage. Wal-Mart monitors its suppliers and will investigate the allegations, a spokesman for the company, Richard Coyle, said in an e-mail.

The photos of the child workers prompted one lawmaker to renew a push for legislation that would prohibit imports of goods from factories that fail to provide workers with basic labor protections. "There is nothing in the law that prohibits against imports of products made from sweatshop labor, and I think that needs to change," Senator Dorgan, a Democrat from North Dakota, said at a press conference. Mr. Dorgan held up an ornament pictured in the Chinese factory, which he said was purchased at Wal-Mart.

The New York-based National Labor Committee has investigated labor abuses in Central America, Jordan, and other countries in recent years. Yesterday's report on the Christmas ornaments accused Wal-Mart and other retailers in America of failing to police their production facilities overseas.