WRC Factory Investigation

Double Star

Factory: Double Star

Key Buyers: JCPenney, Kmart, Kohl's, Target, Team Edition

Year: 2006

Case Summary

The WRC has been working since November 2003 to correct code of conduct violations at the Double Star factory in Thailand. The WRC assessment identified serious code of conduct violations pertaining to freedom of association, wages, hours of work, and occupational health and safety. Findings included anti-union discrimination and the denial of access to benefits to workers who chose to associate with a trade union at the factory; the payment of subminimum wages to workers contracted through an outside employment agency; regular forced overtime; and health and safety issues including the use of industrial waste water in the factory’s restroom facilities and an unusually high rate of workplace injuries. The WRC contacted licensees sourcing to Double Star and found that they were already discontinuing their business relationship with Double Star based on factors independent of code of conduct violations. Given the severity of the violations identified at Double Star, the WRC continued the assessment and remediation efforts with the hopes of resolving key issues by working directly with the factory and other key buyers in the absence of the university licensee. Double Star has thus far refused to cooperate meaningfully with the WRC’s assessment or to take sufficient remedial action. Double Star serves as an example of one of the challenges that licensee sourcing practices poses to code enforcement efforts. While it is not clear whether Team Effort “cut and ran” from the factory in an effort to avoid responsibility of the violations occurring there, the fact that the licensee did leave the factory , and that collegiate licensees can regularly change supplier factories without regard for the impact that these business decisions will have on code compliance efforts, seriously undermines the WRC’s ability to use university codes of conduct to improve conditions at a large number of collegiate supplier factories.

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