Leveraging Desperation: Apparel Brands’ Purchasing Practices during Covid-19

Leveraging Desperation: Apparel Brands’ Purchasing Practices during Covid-19

By Kimberly Capehart / October 16, 2020 / Comments Off on Leveraging Desperation: Apparel Brands’ Purchasing Practices during Covid-19

A July – August survey of 75 garment suppliers in 15 countries reveals shocking changes in brands’ pricing and purchasing practices on new orders. The report finds that brands are using suppliers’ pandemic-driven desperation as leverage to drive down prices and impose onerous payment schedules on new orders they are placing. Many suppliers are being forced to accept orders below cost, potentially forcing them out of business and putting workers’ livelihoods at risk.

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Unpaid Billions: Trade Data Show Apparel Order Volume and Prices Plummeted through June, Driven by Brands’ Refusal to Pay for Goods They Asked Suppliers to Make

By Kimberly Capehart / October 8, 2020 / Comments Off on Unpaid Billions: Trade Data Show Apparel Order Volume and Prices Plummeted through June, Driven by Brands’ Refusal to Pay for Goods They Asked Suppliers to Make

US and EU trade data provide considerable evidence of a significant loss in value due to order cancellations. A total of USD 16.2 billion was lost, combined, from April through June in the US and from April through May in the EU (a number that will almost certainly increase when June data are available for the EU). Assuming that wages make up 10 percent of the value (at import price), what this suggests is the loss of more than USD 1.6 billion in workers’ wages, based on reduced imports and retroactive price discounts for the US and EU markets alone.

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Farce majeure: How global apparel brands are using the Covid-19 pandemic to stiff suppliers and abandon workers

Farce majeure: How global apparel brands are using the Covid-19 pandemic to stiff suppliers and abandon workers

By Kimberly Capehart / September 10, 2020 / Comments Off on Farce majeure: How global apparel brands are using the Covid-19 pandemic to stiff suppliers and abandon workers

This paper by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, ILAW, and the Worker Rights Consortium explores the power imbalances between brands and suppliers and their contractual manifestation. It examines the law of force majeure and related doctrines and how they apply to the current circumstances. The paper explains how brands violate their due diligence obligations through canceling orders.…

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Un(der)paid in the pandemic

Un(der)paid in the pandemic

By Kimberly Capehart / August 17, 2020 / Comments Off on Un(der)paid in the pandemic

The report “Un(der)paid in the pandemic” analyzes nonpayment of wages to garment workers during the months of March, April, and May resulting from order cancellations by apparel brands, unpaid leave, and state-sanctioned wage cuts during the Covid-19 crisis. Based on a review of news reports and information from worker organizations, we estimate that across South…

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Abandoned? The Impact of Covid-19 on Workers and Businesses at the Bottom of Global Garment Supply Chains

By Kimberly Capehart / March 27, 2020 / Comments Off on Abandoned? The Impact of Covid-19 on Workers and Businesses at the Bottom of Global Garment Supply Chains

This report, authored by Pennsylvania State University’s Center for Global Workers’ Rights, in collaboration with the WRC describes the results of a survey of more than 300 garment suppliers in Bangladesh and has just reported the results. The survey found that 80 percent of apparel suppliers have been forced to slash employment as a result of buyers canceling orders—with nearly 60 percent reporting they have shut down most or all of their operations. Meanwhile, four out of five fired workers have not received the severance pay mandated by law. The survey found that almost none of the buyers had offered suppliers any financial support to help pay workers.

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WRC WHITE PAPER: Who will bail out the workers that make our clothes?

By Kimberly Capehart / March 26, 2020 / Comments Off on WRC WHITE PAPER: Who will bail out the workers that make our clothes?

Co-authored by WRC executive director Scott Nova and the CCC’s Ineke Zeldenrust, this white paper explains how brands and retailers are shoring up their own finances by refusing to honor contracts with apparel suppliers, forcing suppliers to the brink of bankruptcy and causing large-scale dismissals of workers. The report calls for brands to pay suppliers what they owe them, for the swift mobilization of international financial resources to provide income support to garment workers, and for deeper reforms to address the supply chain inequities that Covid-19 is laying bare.

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¿Quién va a rescatar a las trabajadoras(es) que fabrican nuestra ropa?

By Kimberly Capehart / March 26, 2020 /

Disponible además en español aquí

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যে শ্রমিকেরা আমাদের কাপড় তৈরি করেন তাদের অর্থনৈতিক সুরক্ষা কে দেবে?

By Kimberly Capehart / March 26, 2020 /

বাংলায় সহজলভ্য

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To Create a Better Everyday Life for Some People

To Create a Better Everyday Life for Some People

By Kimberly Capehart / February 4, 2020 / Comments Off on To Create a Better Everyday Life for Some People

There are few research studies on the labor conditions of home textile factory workers. This report aims to fill this gap and to test the supply chain labor standards of the brands that are driving the growth of Bangladesh’s home textile industry against the actual conditions of workers in the factories that produce these goods. Workers interviewed for this report revealed violations of Bangladeshi labor law and brands’ codes of conduct related to building safety, payment of wages, working hours, freedom of association, and abuse.

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Banning Hope: Bangladesh Garment Workers, Seeking a Dollar an Hour Face Mass Firings, Violence, and False Arrests

By Worker Rights Consortium / May 17, 2019 /

The government and apparel factory owners in Bangladesh have carried out a brutal crackdown on garment workers in retaliation for largely peaceful protests against the country’s extremely low minimum wage. Since December of 2018, at least 65 workers have been arrested and subjected to baseless criminal charges, brought at the behest of factories that supply brands like H&M, Mango, and Next.

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