Resolution to Condemn Saipan Sweatshops and Join the National Campaign Against the Gap

Whereas, the island of Saipan in the Northern Marianas Islands – a U.S. commonwealth in the western Pacific Ocean – has attracted a host of foreign investors who produce 1$ billion annually in clothes for some of the biggest fashion labels at the cost of exploiting workers;

Whereas, U.S. clothing companies such as The Gab, Tommy Hilfiger, The Limited, J.C. Penny, Wal-Mart and Sears are profiting off a system of indentured labor – young Asian women who must first sign contracts that deny them their basic human rights, pay exorbitant recruitment fees, work up to 12 hours a day, seven days a week, often without overtime pay; and live in overcrowded housing in unsanitary conditions;

Whereas, these companies save $200 million a year in import tariffs and benefit from no U.S. quota restrictions and lax immigration laws, while paying a minimum wage of $3.05 per hour;

Whereas, U.S. apparel corporations are deceiving American consumers and undermining apparel-production jobs elsewhere in the United States by using a “Made in USA” label on clothes produced in Saipan;

Whereas, these companies have a responsibility to be honest with consumers and ensure that their workers are treated fairly according to U.S. laws; and now

Therefore, be it resolved that Pride At Work denounces the widespread sweatshop abuses in Saipan and;

Therefore, be it further resolved that Pride At Work joins with UNITE and human rights groups in the national “Stop Saipan Sweatshops” campaign to pressure U.S. corporations to clean up the labor abuses on the island;

Therefore, be it further resolved that Pride At Work participates in monthly protests in front of Gap stores, starting on Saturday march 6, and send a latter to The Gap and other major retailers doing business in Saipan urging them to end the labor abuses;

Therefore, be it finally resolved that Pride At Work supports legislation in Congress to extend federal minimum-wage, immigration and customs laws to the Northern Marianas and to tighten domestic-content requirements for the “Made in USA” label.

Submitted by: Howard Wallace, SF Bay Area, PAW