Ethical Standards and Working Conditions in Wal-Mart’s Supply Chain

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Ethical Standards and Working Conditions in Wal-Mart’s Supply Chain

A research report conducted by the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF)

October 24, 2007

www.LaborRights.org

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The International Labor Rights Forum would like to recognize Joanna Barry and Michelle Jacome for all of their research, writing, and editing support for this report.

The International Labor Rights Forum was founded in 1986 and serves a unique role among human rights organizations as advocates for and with the working poor worldwide. ILRF works to support the right of all workers to a safe working environment where they are treated with dignity and respect, and where they can organize freely to defend and promote their rights and interests. ILRF has worked for two decades to ensure that the rights enshrined in international conventions and covenants are made real through effective enforcement mechanisms. ILRF has been in the forefront of organizations working to develop practical and effective new tools to assist workers in winning enforcement of protections for their basic rights. The following is a description of ILRF’s four programs as well as many of ILRF’s ongoing campaigns: Stop Child Labor: ILRF engages in corporate campaigns to fight for an end to child labor globally. We are currently focusing on the cocoa industry (especially Nestle) for their use of child labor in West Africa and Bridgestone Firestone for child labor on their rubber plantation in Liberia. ILRF also has been heavily engaged in the issue of child labor in cotton and cottonseed fields. Rights for Working Women (RFWW): This campaign seeks to alleviate sexual harassment in the workplace and address other issues of concern to women workers through campaigns, worker education, reform of local laws, judicial advocacy, and workplace monitoring. Create a Sweatfree World: Through this campaign, the ILRF seeks to challenge sweatshop conditions globally, promote ethical alternatives and advocate for labor rights in US trade policy. The ILRF also has a campaign targeting Wal-Mart for abuse of workers’ rights in their suppliers’ factories. ILRF’s newest focus is on sweatshops in the fields as the food and agricultural supply chains become increasingly consolidated and riddled with unimaginable labor rights violations. The Fairness in Flowers campaign raises awareness in the US about labor rights violations and health and safety problems in the cut flower industry. End Violence against Trade Unions: Throughout the world, labor activists are targets of repression for their organizing efforts. ILRF, in collaboration with unions and activist groups, campaigns to fight violence against trade union leaders globally. We participate in urgent actions to support unions, especially in the Philippines and Colombia which are two of the most dangerous countries for trade unionists.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ............................................................................................................ 4 INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................................... 5 SECTION 1: BY THE NUMBERS................................................................................................ 6 TABLE ONE: WAL-MART SUPPLIER FACTORY AUDITS 2003-2006 ........................................... 6 WHAT DO THESE NUMBERS TELL US? ............................................................................ 8 FACTORY RATING SYSTEM ............................................................................................... 9 SECTION 2: “VIOLATIONS WILL OCCUR” ........................................................................... 11 HOW HARD ARE THE AUDITORS LOOKING?................................................................ 11 NO GOALS = NO FAILURES = NO PROGRESS ................................................................ 12 AUDITING...
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