Thursday, May 15, 2008

Despite the best attempts of their propaganda machines the Olympic Games have always been "political". Whether it be the excess of nationalism involved or, more and more commonly, the opposition of citizens' groups to either aspects of the Olympics or the whole affair in toto, the modern Olympics are very much a political event. In the lead up to this summer's Olympics in Beijing there have been numerous protests, from those appalled by China's treatment of Tibetans to labour rights activists hoping to improve the conditions of workers producing goods for the upcoming games. Here in Canada opposition to the upcoming Winter Olympics in 2010 is already building around native rights and the Games' effect on the poor in Vancouver.
But speaking of Vancouver, this coming June an alliance of labour organizations and solidarity groups will be holding a conference in that city in which they hope to confront the global garment industry with a code of ethics that should be applied to those firms producing products for the Games. Here is the announcement.
Igniting the flame for a sweat-free Olympics

Ethical Trading Forum 2008
*Can workers making Olympic-branded products expect fair labour practices?
*How far and how fast do sportswear brands need to go to improve wages and working conditions?
*Does “made in China” equal “poor working conditions”? What can companies, governments, trade unions and NGOs do to promote and protect worker rights in China?
Thursday, June 12, 2008
9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Joseph & Rosalie Segal Centre at SFU Harbour Centre,
515 West Hastings
Vancouver, British Columbia
Download the poster (PDF)
*Doug Miller, International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers' Federation, Brussels
*Monina Wong, Labour Action China, Hong Kong
*Caitlin Morris, Director of Compliance Integration and Collaboration, Nike Inc.
*Ann Duffy, Corporate Sustainability Officer, VANOC
*Jim Sinclair, President, British Columbia Federation of Labour
*Kevin Thomas, Director of Advocacy, Maquila Solidarity Network
*Ginny Coughlin, Global Strategies Director, UNITE HERE

The forum will profile the recommendations of the international Play Fair Alliance to the sportswear industry and the Olympic movement contained in a recently released report entitled "Clearing the Hurdles: Steps to improving working conditions in the global sportswear industry." The report and an executive summary can be obtained here.

Presented by: BC Federation of Labour, Canadian Labour Congress, Ethical Trading Action Group, New Westminster & District Labour Council, Vancouver & District Labour Council. Partnering with: Communication Education Programs, Continuing Studies, Simon Fraser University.
With support from the Community Savings Credit Union:
$30 civil society, $50 companies, $10 students
To register, contact the CLC Pacific Regional Office at 604-430-6766 or

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