Does the WRC do other work in addition to factory investigations?

Yes. Our other work includes:

  • Worker complaint mechanism. Working with local NGOs, the WRC conducts trainings for workers at collegiate apparel factories to inform them of their rights under college and university codes of conduct, including their right to lodge a confidential complaint if they believe there are violations in their workplace. These trainings help workers understand how to bring complaints about workplace violations to the attention of trusted NGOs and, through them, to the WRC. Since no monitoring organization can be in every factory every day, the best way to ensure that colleges and universities learn about problems in their factories is for the workers themselves to serve as front-line monitors.
  • Research. The WRC conducts research on important issues and trends in apparel production. In Haiti, we conducted research on factories’ widespread failure to pay workers the legal minimum wage—research that ultimately helped end this wage theft, so that workers are now paid what they are owed. Our recent publications include a report documenting the poor working conditions in Ethiopia’s growing garment industry, where some workers were paid as little as $0.12 per hour and a report on the increasing repression of civil society in Bangladesh.
  • Factory disclosure database. The WRC maintains a comprehensive, interactive, up-to-date database of factory names and locations for all factories producing goods for WRC schools as reported by licensees.
  • Broader initiatives. Building on the insights and best practices developed in the collegiate sector, the WRC works with our allies to support initiatives that promote positive change in the garment industry overall. This is particularly crucial in combating violations that affect workers at collegiate factories and cannot be fully addressed on a factory-by-factory basis. In the wake of the disaster in Bangladesh at Rana Plaza, which killed 1,137 workers and injured thousands, the WRC helped create the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a historic, binding agreement that has dramatically improved workplace safety for two million workers across the Bangladeshi garment industry. More recently, the WRC supported a coalition of Lesotho worker and women’s rights organizations in launching a ground-breaking, enforceable program to combat sexual harassment and coercion in garment factories in that country.