Child Labor Report 2005
As has been stated in Chapter II, an important issue regarding the
implementation of codes of conduct is their transparency, or the
extent to which foreign contractors and subcontractors, workers, the
public, NGOs and governments are aware of their existence and
Information gathered by Department of Labor officials during
field visits regarding transparency of U.S. corporate codes of
conduct is reported in this section, grouped around the following
- Is the foreign supplier aware of codes of conduct developed by
U.S. garment importers? Is the supplier familiar with the code of
conduct of the U.S. garment importer for which it is producing?
- Does the U.S. company that originated the code of conduct hold
training sessions with foreign suppliers (contractors,
subcontractors, buying agents) to explain the code? Does the U.S.
garment importer require a signed statement/certificate of
compliance from the foreign supplier indicating that the code has
been received and understood?
- Are codes posted in the factory in places accessible to
workers? If the code is posted, is it in English or in the native
language of the workers?
- Is there a requirement to inform workers about the code? If
so, do workers have to be informed in writing, orally, or both?
- How well has information about the codes of conduct been
disseminated to foreign government officials, NGOs and the public
in general? Have there been efforts to inform the public about the
codes of conduct?
1. Foreign Suppliers' Awareness About Codes of Conduct
The voluntary survey of U.S. retailers and garment manufacturers
indicated that most U.S. corporations with policies regarding labor
standards and child labor had distributed them to their suppliers. A
smaller set of respondents indicated that they had actively engaged
in communicating their policies to contractors, plant managers,
employees, and workers.
In the six countries, Department of Labor officials visited 70
producers of garments currently exporting - or producing for
contractors who are exporting - to the United States to learn their
degree of awareness about codes of conduct. The majority of the
suppliers interviewed produced for one or more U.S. importers
identified - either from the survey described in Chapter II or from
other public information - as having codes of conduct.
Managers of two-thirds (47 out of 70) of the plants visited that
currently export to the United States indicated that they were aware
of codes of conduct prohibiting the use of child labor, particularly
of the codes issued by their U.S. customers. Based on the company
visits, awareness among managers about codes of conduct was highest
in El Salvador (all 8 companies visited knew about the codes) and
Guatemala (6 out of 9 companies knew); in three other countries
visited - the Dominican Republic, Honduras, and the Philippines -
managers interviewed were more evenly divided between those who were
aware and those who were not; in India, only 2 out of 7 producers
visited were aware of U.S. codes of conduct. However, only 34 of the
47 companies that indicated they were aware of codes of conduct had
available a copy of the code of conduct (or contractual provision)
that they could show and discuss with the visiting Department of
Labor official. Thus, managers at less than half of the plants
visited were able to produce a code of conduct upon request.
- An observation from Guatemala - which seems to be
applicable to other countries as well - is that a contractor's
specific awareness of codes of conduct seemed to be a function of
the U.S. company for which they produced.
- Contractors and some subcontractors producing for JCPenney
and Phillips-Van Heusen had knowledge of the U.S. companies'
codes of conduct or policies on child labor and some of them had
- Meanwhile, the manager of Don Sang, a Korean-owned
maquila that produces mostly for Paul Solary and Marcraft
Apparel Group in New York stated that he had never heard of the
concept of U.S. company codes of conduct or policies.
- In El Salvador, managers of all eight plants visited by
the Department of Labor were aware of U.S. codes of conduct and
were able either to show a copy of the code of conduct to the
Department of Labor officials or had copies of the document posted
in public places at the factory.
- In Honduras, managers of plants producing under
contract for JCPenney, Sears, The Gap, Macy's, Rothschilds and
Oxford Industries were aware of the codes of conduct of these
corporations and had copies of those commitments.
- Managers of plants wholly owned by Fruit of the Loom and
Warnaco were similarly aware of those companies' codes of
conduct; the manager of two Fruit of the Loom factories (Confecciones
Dos Caminos I and II) had a copy of the U.S. corporation's
"Contractor Code of Conduct" and the Warnaco subsidiary posted
their internal regulations in the cafeteria and three workplace
areas. The internal regulations contained the Warnaco code of
- In contrast, Cosmo and Fnix, two Korean-owned plants
producing for Target (Dayton-Hudson), Kmart, Wal-Mart, and
Montgomery Ward stated that they did not know about the codes of
conduct of their customers.
- Two other plants visited in Honduras, OshKosh B'Gosh and
Exportadores Textiles, stated that they were not aware of codes
of conduct or whether their U.S. customers have codes of
- In the Dominican Republic, contractors for Levi Strauss
(RK Fashions, Interamericana Products, D'Clase Corporation, and
Grupo M), Sara Lee Corporation (BRATEX Dominicana), and JCPenney (Polanco
Fashion International) were aware of the codes of conduct of their
U.S. customers and had copies of the codes available.
- In contrast, Toscana Corporation and Pons San Pedro, two
U.S.-owned companies in Zona Franca San Pedro de Macor's which
subcontract for Kmart, Wal-Mart and Target (Dayton-Hudson), did
not know whether their U.S. customers had codes of conduct and
were not able to provide any documents that set out the
operating policies of the U.S. garment importing companies.
- Finally, Bonahan Apparel and Hingshing Textiles,
Korean-owned corporations producing garments for the U.S. market
- under the labels Chaus, Smooth, B&B, Tuxedo Junction, Harmony
Clothes, Neema Clothing, Luscasini, First Nighter, and Jacob
Sigel - were not aware of codes of conduct at all.11
- In the Philippines, managers' knowledge about codes of
conduct was mixed.
- The manager of a plant wholly owned by Levi Strauss was
familiar with that company's code of conduct and had copies of
the document available.
- Several plants that contract all or a large portion of their
production to Liz Claiborne (U.S. Fashion Image, All Asia
Fashions, Woo Chang, and L&T International) were also familiar
with the codes of conduct of the U.S. importer and had copies
- Two Nike suppliers, Go-Thong and Mactan Apparel
Incorporated, both located in Cebu, were aware of Nike's code of
conduct and had copies of it.
- Management of Castleberry, a contractor to JCPenney, became
familiar with that company's code of conduct only recently and
had a copy available; three of Castleberry's subcontractors,
also visited by the Department of Labor, were not aware of
JCPenney's code of conduct, however.
- Similarly, A La Mode Garments, a subcontractor to The Gap,
was not aware of The Gap's code of conduct for suppliers.
- In India, Department of Labor officials found only two
companies - Ambattur Clothing Company and Orient Craft - that were
aware of the codes of conduct of U.S. apparel importers, and both
had copies. These companies produced for large U.S. apparel
suppliers Liz Claiborne, The Gap, Ralph Lauren, Sears, and
- The five other Indian plants that were visited which
produced for the U.S. market were not aware of U.S. codes of
2.Training and Supplier Certification
Several U.S. corporations responding to the survey said that they
held training sessions with suppliers about their codes of conduct.
Others - particularly retailers - said they inform foreign
contractors about their policies/codes of conduct and require each
foreign producer to sign a document stating that it has been
informed about the code of conduct and its meaning.
Department of Labor officials found that formal training of plant
managers and supervisors about the codes of conduct was not common
in the six countries visited. Only 14 out of the 47 companies
visited where managers indicated awareness about codes of conduct
stated that they had received some formal training regarding the
U.S. companies' codes of conduct, although it was evident that the
intensity of the training varied widely from company to company.13
- The clearest example of a formal training program was in the
Dominican Republic, where contractors stated that Levi
Strauss had conducted training on codes of conduct for managers
and supervisors of plants throughout the country and had provided
the information in both English and Spanish.
- For example, RK Fashion is a Dominican-owned plant located
in Zona Franca La Vega that produces only for Levi Strauss;
different levels of managers/supervisors received - and continue
to receive - periodic training from Levi Strauss on the
implementation of that company's code of conduct.
- In India, Triburg Consultants, an Indian agent,
administers Liz Claiborne's human rights guidelines. Triburg
conveys the guidelines to the supplying company and discusses them
with management. Some of Triburg's staff have gone to New York for
orientation sessions and total quality management programs
conducted by Liz Claiborne. Upon their return, they communicate
the information to the Liz Claiborne contractors.
Some suppliers indicated that they had to certify in writing to
their U.S. clients that they had received and understood the codes
and agreed to abide by them.14
- In the Philippines, several Liz Claiborne contractors
interviewed in Manila stated that they had signed certificates of
compliance with Liz Claiborne's Standards of Engagement which,
among other things, prohibit child labor. These contractors also
supply Ralph Lauren, Eddie Bauer (Spiegel), May Department Stores,
Tommy Hilfiger, and The Gap.
- In India, Triburg Consultants, an agent for Liz
Claiborne and others, stated that they receive human rights
guidelines and mission statements from Liz Claiborne. Agents
discuss the guidelines with the suppliers and a common
understanding is reached. Suppliers then agree on the guidelines
and each signs a document stating that it understands them.
- Associated Indian Exports, an agent for Sears and other U.S.
companies, followed similar procedures regarding the
implementation of Sears' Vendor Certification.
3.Posting of Codes of Conduct
A concrete example of transparency of codes of conduct is the
voluntary posting of codes of conduct at the workplace, preferably
in the native language of the workers. In two of the countries
visited - El Salvador15
and Honduras - there is a legal requirement that companies post
their internal regulations, including starting and ending time, rest
periods, and disciplinary rules. These internal regulations tend to
be very detailed and instruct workers on a range of issues such as
rest periods, talking, use of bathroom facilities, and penalties for
offenses such as tardiness, absences, or not meeting their
production quotas. Thus, workers perceive internal regulations as
rules to which they are bound in the workplace.
The plant visits by Department of Labor officials suggest that
while posting of a U.S. garment importer's codes of conduct seems to
be common practice in El Salvador, it is not the norm in the garment
industries of the other countries visited. In all, 21 of the 70
plants visited by the Department of Labor officials had posted a
code of conduct of a U.S. customer; 7 of such plants (out of 8
visited in that country) were in El Salvador. The number of plants
visited in each of the other countries where codes of conduct were
posted was: Dominican Republic, 2; Honduras, 1; Guatemala, 2; India,
2; and the Philippines, 7.16
- As noted above, posting of codes of conduct was common in
El Salvador. Department of Labor officials viewed codes of
conduct - in Spanish - in the following plants:
- Lindotex, a Korean-owned company, produces under contract
for Hampton, Capitol Mercury, Wal-Mart, The Gap, JCPenney, and
Sears. JCPenney, Hampton, and Capitol Mercury each account for
approximately 25 percent of production. Wal-Mart, The Gap,
JCPenney, and Sears have codes of conduct, which Lindotex orally
explains to the workers. Hampton's code of conduct is posted at
- Mandarin, a Taiwanese owned and financed factory supplies
garments to Eddie Bauer (Spiegel), The Limited, Liz Claiborne,
JCPenney, Casual Corner, and The Gap,17
among others. The Gap, JCPenney and Eddie Bauer account for 70
percent of production. The Gap's code of conduct is posted at
the entrances to the plant.
- Textiles Lourdes Limitadas, a subsidiary of Fruit of the
Loom, exports all of its production to the United States. Fruit
of the Loom's code of conduct is posted at the plant.
- Hilasal, located in the Export Salva Free Trade Zone, Santa
Ana, is a joint venture (50-50) between U.S. and Salvadoran
investors. The plant manufactures for Sears, Liz Claiborne, and
Hampton Industries; Hampton accounts for 80 percent of the
plant's production. Hampton's code of conduct - in Spanish - is
posted at the entrances.
- Codes of conduct were also posted at Industrias Caribbean
Apparel, S.A. (JCPenney's code of conduct), C.M.T. Industries
(Lily of France's and VF Corporation's codes of conduct), and
Primo Industries (Liz Claiborne's code of conduct).
- The only plant of eight visited in this country where a code
of conduct was not posted was Confecciones El Pedregal, a
subsidiary of Sara Lee.
- In Guatemala, two of the companies visited by the
Department of Labor had codes of conduct posted in the plant:
- Maquila Cardiz, S.A., a contractor to Phillips-Van Heusen,
had that company's code of conduct posted on the factory wall -
both in English and Spanish.
- Camisas Modernas, another Phillips-Van Heusen contractor,
followed the same practice.
- Meanwhile, the manager of a Korean-owned maquila (Lindotex)
located in Chimaltenango that produces for JCPenney and Wal-Mart
said that he normally had his customers' codes of conduct (both
JCPenney and Wal-Mart) posted at the plant, but they had been
recently taken down while the walls were being repainted.
- In Honduras, KIMI, a Korean-owned contractor to The
Gap, located in the Continental Park, La Lima, was the only
company visited by the Department of Labor that posted a code of
conduct. KIMI posted The Gap's code of conduct - in Spanish - in
two plant locations.
- Certified Apparel Services, located in San Pedro Sula,
produces for Wal-Mart, Sears, Mervyn's (Dayton-Hudson), JCPenney,
Target (Dayton-Hudson), Kmart, William Carter, Bradlees and
Meijer. While Wal-Mart, Sears and JCPenney have codes of
conduct, copies were not available at Certified Apparel Services
in San Pedro Sula. According to the manager, signed copies of
the codes of conduct are available in corporate headquarters in
Florida (Certified Apparel Services is a subsidiary of Kleinerts,
based in Tampa, Florida). He also stated that workers and union
leaders have been advised of the corporate codes of conduct, but
copies of the documents were not available and they were not
posted on factory walls.
- In India, only two of the plants visited by Department
of Labor officials posted a code of conduct:
- Ambattur Clothing Company, located in Madras, which used to
produce garments for The Limited and currently does so for The
Gap, Banana Republic (The Gap), Eddie Bauer (Spiegel), J. Crew,
and Liz Claiborne, posted Liz Claiborne's code of conduct - in
Hindi - at the factory.
- Orient Craft, located near New Delhi, which produces
garments for Liz Claiborne and Ralph Lauren also posted Liz
Claiborne's code of conduct in Hindi outside the factory
- In the Philippines, seven plants visited by the
Department of Labor had posted a code of conduct.
- The Liz Claiborne Human Rights Statement, in Tagalog, was
posted at the worksites of the four contractors of that company
- At the wholly owned Levi Strauss subsidiary in Makati, the
company's Statement of Aspirations was prominently posted in
Tagalog and English.
- Mactan Apparel and Globalwear, two contractors for Nike in
Cebu, posted copies of the Nike code of conduct.
- In the Dominican Republic, Hanes Caribe, a U.S.-owned
corporation producing for Sara Lee, and Grupo M, a Dominican-owned
corporation producing for Levi Strauss, Liz Claiborne, Fruit of
the Loom, Kellwood, Tommy Hilfiger, Polo, and Oxford, both had
posted codes of conduct in Spanish and English at their plants;
Hanes Caribe posted the Sara Lee code of conduct, while Grupo M
displayed the Levi Strauss code of conduct.
- Two other companies visited, Manufactura Borinque-a (Zona
Franca San Pedro de Macor's) and Woo Chang Dominican Industry (Zona
Franca Bonao), stated that they used to post their companies'
internal policies (not codes of conducts per se, but statements
to the effect that they complied with domestic laws) but they
had stopped this practice a number of years ago because "the
companies had been in operation for a long time and workers
already knew the rules." These two companies supply garments to
U.S. corporations New Age Intimates, Sears, Kmart, and Wal-Mart,
Some foreign producers with multiple U.S. clients each with
different codes of conduct stated that the proliferation of codes of
conduct - often with different definitions of standards and
monitoring requirements - created confusion with regard to
implementation. This view was expressed most clearly in the
- D'Clase Corporation, a Dominican-owned company located in Zona
Franca Santiago, which assembles garments for Levi Strauss, Eddie
Bauer (Spiegel), Oxford Industries, Haggar Clothing, JCPenney, Lee
(VF Corporation), Wrangler (VF Corporation), and Ralph
Lauren-Polo, took elements from different U.S. corporate codes of
conduct and developed a code of conduct for D'Clase Corporation.
D'Clase posts its own code of conduct rather than the codes of its
U.S. clients. (D'Clase Corporation's code of conduct includes
provisions on working conditions and employment practices and a
prohibition on the use of child labor and forced labor.)
- Undergarment Fashions, a U.S.-owned contractor for JCPenney,
Victoria's Secret (The Limited), Sears, Wal-Mart, and Kmart,
located in the Zona Franca San Pedro de Macor's, did not have
knowledge of the codes of conduct of its clients, but had
developed - and posted - its own code of conduct ("Best Form
Foundation"), which includes provisions prohibiting child labor.
4.Workers' Awareness of Codes of Conduct
Although a significant number of suppliers knew about the U.S.
corporate codes of conduct, meetings with workers and their
representatives in the six countries suggested that relatively few
workers are aware of the existence of codes of conduct, and even
fewer understand their implications.
The lack of awareness on the part of workers about codes of
conduct may be in part attributable to the relatively low level of
effort on the part of producers to inform their workers about the
codes. Management regards codes of conduct - and compliance with
labor law - to be a management problem, and approaches monitoring
and supervision of these matters as management responsibilities.
Workers are not seen by management as having a role in these
Department of Labor officials were told by management of 22 of
the companies visited that they informed their workers about codes
of conduct; 13 of the companies indicated that they inform their
workers about codes of conduct orally, while only 9 stated that they
do so both orally and in writing.
Out of all of the plants that were visited in the six countries,
there was only one example of a producer that had an explicit policy
of informing workers about the code of conduct of its U.S. customer:
- As part of a strategy to keep workers informed about company
policies and developments, in the Dominican Republic, Mr.
ctor Polanco, the manager of Hanes Caribe, a subsidiary of Sara
Lee, stated that Hanes Caribe had provided copies of Sara Lee's
code of conduct - in Spanish - to each worker; held several
meetings to discuss the contents and implications of the code; and
required that workers attending the meetings sign an attendance
sheet acknowledging receipt of the code of conduct.
- This was confirmed by Mrs. Yokalty Malmolejos Uribe, a
former worker at Hanes Caribe, who stated that in addition to
providing information on Sara Lee's code of conduct, Hanes
Caribe's personnel specialists also made available to workers
copies of the Dominican Labor Code and referred to these
materials during discussions with workers.
The following examples illustrate the general lack of awareness
about the codes of conduct among workers in the six countries
- In El Salvador, representatives of major labor
organizations [National Federation of Salvadoran Workers (FENASTRAS),
Federation of Labor Unions of El Salvador (FESTRAES), National
Unity of Salvadoran Workers (UNTS), and Union of Textiles and
Related Industry Workers of El Salvador (STITAS)] stated that most
workers - and even some labor leaders - do not know about codes of
conduct. In addition:
- Representatives of CENTRA (Centro de Estudios del Trabajo),
an organization that conducts research on labor issues in El
Salvador, stated that a survey of one thousand 16-17 year old
workers conducted in June-July 1995 found that not a single
person had ever heard of a code of conduct.18
- Interviews of workers conducted by the Department of Labor
officials confirmed the workers' lack of knowledge about codes
of conduct. For example, of a dozen workers interviewed outside
of the San Marcos Free Trade Zone, only one said she knew about
codes of conduct. In three interviews of maquila workers held in
a small neighborhood near a free trade zone, two of the workers
had never heard of a code of conduct, and one had heard about it
from a friend who worked in the free trade zone. The worker
interviewed "knew" that only women over 18 years of age were
hired in the zone.19
- In the Dominican Republic, workers had very little
knowledge about the codes of conduct of U.S. companies whose
garments they produced.
- Most workers appeared to be surprised that such policies
exist at all, and had never seen or heard of codes of conduct
prior to being interviewed. Some workers expressed frustration
at the disregard for their right to have access to information
which may improve the general environment in which they worked.
- The workers best informed about codes of conducts were those
participating or involved in labor union organizing. Labor
unions, such as the National Federation of Free Trade Zones
Workers (FENATRAZONA), provided workers with general information
on codes of conduct and worker rights.
- In Honduras, workers of the KIMI plant, a Korean-owned
company that contracts with The Gap, are aware of The Gap's code
of conduct. A representative from The Gap explained its code of
conduct to KIMI's workers, but no specific training was provided.
As was discussed in the previous section, KIMI was the only one
out of twelve plants visited in Honduras that posted the code of
conduct of a U.S. customer.
- The national leadership of two major union organizations
interviewed [Central General of Workers (CGT) and Confederation
of Workers of Honduras (CTH)] was aware of The Gap's code of
conduct, but not of the fact that other U.S. importers had
- In Guatemala, representatives of UNSITRAGUA (Union of
Labor Organizations of Guatemala), the main confederation of
workers in the country, had limited knowledge and understanding of
the codes of conduct of U.S. companies due to information received
from U.S. labor unions, and believed that Guatemalan workers are
completely unaware of them.
- Mr. Juan Francisco Alfaro, Secretary General of the
Guatemalan Confederation of Labor Unity (CUSG), seemed somewhat
knowledgeable that corporate codes of conduct existed in the
United States, but stated that they are not known in Guatemala;
if some maquilas know of them, he does not believe they are
effectively implemented and he believes that the workers are not
- Representatives of the Central General of Guatemalan Workers
(CGTG) were not aware of any U.S. corporate codes of conduct.
- Meetings with garment workers conducted outside of plants in
Guatemala City, Chimaltenango and San Pedro de Sacatepequez
demonstrated that these workers are unaware of any U.S. company
code of conduct or policy on child labor, although they are
aware of the maquila industry's move not to hire under-age
- A representative of the garment industry stated that some
maquila managers are aware of U.S. corporate codes of conduct;
even if workers in these plants do not know about the codes of
conduct, the codes are playing a positive role as they are being
implemented and companies are conducting audits to monitor
- The manager of a maquila plant (Confecciones Caribe, S.A.)
stated that there was no need to inform the workers about the
codes because they should already know the Guatemalan labor code
and the corporate codes do not add anything new to the country's
- In India, trade union representatives in Tirupur (from
the Janatha Dal Labor Federation) were not aware of any U.S.
corporate code of conduct or terms of engagement for garment
- In the Philippines, some workers at subsidiaries of
U.S. corporations or large contractors for major U.S. corporations
were aware of codes of conduct through posting at the worksites.
The alleged low literacy level of garment workers is sometimes
used to justify the non-posting of codes of conduct within
factories. In the case of the Dominican Republic, Mr. Eddy
nez, Executive Director, Dominican Association of Free Trade
Zones (ADOZONA), stated that since the literacy level of free trade
zone workers is low, communication is often conducted orally. This
sentiment is obviously held by many free trade zone employers; seven
out of 10 companies (70 percent) visited in the Dominican Republic
that informed workers about codes of conduct did so orally. In
contrast with these statements, employers also stated that they
prefer to hire workers who are able to read and write, as they are
better equipped to follow directions.
In fact, all workers interviewed by the Department of Labor
official in the Dominican Republic were shown copies of a
sample code of conduct and their reading skills were sufficient to
understand its contents. Although the argument of illiteracy as a
reason for not making copies of codes of conduct available to
workers has been raised in the case of the Dominican Republic, it is
clear that it is a pervasive one and probably applies to the garment
industries of most developing countries. Whether it has merit,
however, is doubtful.
As was discussed in the previous section, codes of conduct are
sometimes posted in factories. Yet discussions with workers and
their representatives revealed a lack of awareness of codes of
conduct and their implications for workers. Possible explanations
for this apparent contradiction may be that:
- the posting of the codes is a very recent phenomenon, and
workers have not had time to learn about their existence and
absorb their contents;
- workers put in long hours - particularly when transportation
time to and from their jobs is taken into account - and have very
little unstructured time while they are within the plants to read
materials posted on bulletin boards; and
- workers generally read bulletin boards for the rules they must
follow - and disciplinary consequences if they fail to do so - and
equate materials posted by management with work rules. They may
not have grasped that corporate codes of conduct refer to the
behavior of employers rather than their own.
It is quite clear from the field visits that posting of codes of
conduct alone has not had the desirable effect of making workers
aware of their existence, and active steps to educate workers about
the codes of conduct is required.
5.Dissemination of Codes of Conduct
While it is most critical that overseas contractors,
subcontractors and their workers be familiar with corporate codes of
conduct, knowledge about their existence and implications by others
- host governments, NGOs, business organizations - can also be
helpful in enhancing their effectiveness. Department of Labor
officials found a mixed record regarding the extent to which these
entities were familiar with codes of conduct and their implications.
- In the Dominican Republic, Secretary of Labor Rafael
Alburquerque was knowledgeable about codes of conduct and their
use as a tool to improve working conditions. As the author of the
Dominican Labor Code of 1992, Secretary Alburquerque was also very
familiar with the current provisions regulating the employment of
minors in the Dominican Republic. He stated that the Ministry of
Labor had engaged in a public awareness campaign to disseminate
information on labor standards; the Ministry published and
distributed copies of the new labor code to employers, labor
unions, and many NGOs.
- Most NGOs interviewed were knowledgeable about the existence
and content of codes of conduct in the garment industry. The
American Institute for Free Labor Development (AIFLD)
representatives in the Dominican Republic work closely with
local labor unions and NGOs in providing information on codes of
conduct and international labor standards.
- Other NGOs, such as the Research Center for Female Action (CIPAF)
and OXFAM-UK, have also taken active roles by developing a
public awareness campaign to call attention to working
conditions in the FTZs and the use of codes of conduct to
improve the well-being of these workers. A joint publication by
CIPAF and OXFAM, entitled En el Para'so/In Paradise,
established as one of its goals the need: "to make local
entrepreneurs and large international corporations aware of the
need to formulate and enforce codes of conduct that proclaim the
companies' sense of responsibility towards their workers."
- In contrast, the American Chamber of Commerce in the
Dominican Republic was unaware of the existence of codes of
conduct for the garment industry or how these codes were being
implemented in the FTZs. Mr. Arthur E. Valdez, Executive Vice
President, stated that his member companies have not provided
the Chamber with copies of U.S. companies' codes of conduct and
requested such information from the visiting Department of Labor
- In the Philippines, government officials and political
leaders who met with Department of Labor officials were somewhat
aware of corporate codes of conduct. When informed further, they
thought that the codes could have a positive impact.
- NGOs which met with Department of Labor officials seemed
vaguely aware of corporate codes of conduct.
- Most of the union leaders interviewed were not familiar with
corporate codes of conduct.
- However, the Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce
Garment Industry Committee, Mr. Robert Robbins, and
representatives of Levi Strauss, Liz Claiborne, Gelmart (which
produces for Playtex) and two contractors that produce for Renzo,
a U.S. importer for JCPenney and other U.S. retailers and name
brands, stated that the Chamber takes the issue of codes of
conduct seriously and tries to keep its members informed.
- In El Salvador, the Minister of Labor indicated
familiarity with codes of conduct, emphasizing that they were
strictly private agreements between the U.S. apparel importers and
their manufacturers. The Minister of Labor expressed no objection
to codes of conduct, but stated that since they were not national
law, they were not enforced by his Ministry.
- Several NGOs interviewed [FOES (Salvadoran Worker/Management
Foundation), PROCIPOTES (Project to Integrate Children into
Work, Education and Health), and Olof Palme Foundation]
indicated a lack of knowledge about codes of conduct.
- Representatives from CODYDES (Organization of Fired and
Unemployed Workers of El Salvador), a maquila worker rights
organization, indicated that they had first learned about codes
of conduct in February 1995 but had actually never seen one.
- In India, Mr. Bajpai, Executive Director, American
Business Council in New Delhi, who represents the interests of
U.S. companies in India, indicated that he was not aware of
buyers' codes of conduct, and requested more information on them.
- Mr. Anand, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and
Industry (FICCI) in New Delhi, said codes of conduct are not
shared at the Chamber of Commerce level. However, at the factory
level, companies are trying to comply and implement the codes.
- In the Punjab, all people interviewed - including government
officials, factory owners and managers, union officials and
workers - did not know anything about U.S. companies' codes of
conduct, policies or guidelines.
- In Honduras, the Vice President of the Honduras
American Chamber of Commerce (HAMCHAM), Mr. Raymond Maalouf, was
not aware of U.S. corporate codes of conduct. HAMCHAM, however,
leaves all matters related to the apparel industry to the Honduran
Association of Maquilas.
- The National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH) was aware of
The Gap's code of conduct and had a meeting with officials of
Liz Claiborne to discuss child labor and codes of conduct.
According to Lic. Rolando Arturo Milla of CNDH, Liz Claiborne
representatives stated that it was their intention to name a
representative in Honduras to monitor its code of conduct.
- The Committee for the Defense of Human Rights of Honduras (CODEH)
was aware of The Gap's code of conduct and was disappointed that
CODEH had not been requested by any company to monitor a code of
- In Guatemala, government officials were aware of a code
of conduct being developed in the country by the domestic apparel
but had little awareness of U.S. corporate codes of conduct. Most
NGOs had little knowledge about U.S. corporate codes of conduct,
but opined that they would be beneficial if properly implemented
Child Labor Report 2005