Saturday, January 30, 2010

A broad coalition of labour and human rights groups, including Play Fair, the Maquila Solidarity Network and the Clean Clothes Campaign have been organizing around each Olympics in past years to try and raise public awareness about the atrocious conditions for many workers involved in producing Olympic clothing and other items. The upcoming Vancouver/Whistler Winter Olympics are no exception. Here's an item from the Maquila Solidarity Network about a series of videos detailing the issue, and a campaign to pressure manufacturers to "play fair".
New Play Fair at the Olympics video launched:‏
Here's how you can help push sportswear brands to clear the hurdles on worker rights: watch our new video and take action at

As the February Vancouver Winter Olympic Games draw nearer, we've just released a second short video highlighting the failure of major sportswear brands -- including Olympic sponsors -- to eliminate sweatshop abuses in their global supply chains.

The campaign's second video links to a new website rating commitments by Nike, Adidas, Puma, New Balance and others on clearing the main hurdles that obstruct progress on worker rights in their supply factories: an anti-union environment, poverty wages, precarious work, and factory closures.
» See
» en español:
» en Français:
You can help the campaign by:
» sending an email to the brands
» hosting the video ads on your own website or facebook page.
» sending a short message about the campaign to your friends and networks
»Take Action Now
Here's what the Clean Clothes Campaign has to say about this campaign.
Unfortunately, Olympic skiers aren’t the only ones in a race to the bottom…‏:
Dear all,
In the run-up to the February Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, several groups involved in the Play Fair Alliance last week released its rating of commitments made by major sportswear brands to eliminate sweatshop abuses in their global supply chains. The ratings are based on the responses of the sportswear companies, including Nike, Adidas, Puma and others, to a series of demands put forward by the coalition on the eve of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Please take a moment now and join us in sending a message to key sportswear brands telling them “It’s time to up your game and start clearing the hurdles for workers’ rights”.Go to:
The demands were conceived to overcome four major hurdles to ending labour rights violations in sportswear supply chains: anti-union environment, poverty wages, precarious work, and factory closures.The ratings are being released on the newly launched Clearing the Hurdles website. The new website will allow users to see how each brand has responded to 12 key demands that brands should commit to in order to overcome the four hurdles. Users will also be able to compare the various brands at a glance based on their commitments to overcome these hurdles:
The coalition, which includes Canada’s Maquila Solidarity Network, the International Trade Union Confederation, the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation and the Clean Clothes Campaign is also posting a series of web ads accusing the brands that profit off the Olympics of engaging in a “race to the bottom” on wages and working conditions.
The ad campaign is running on dozens of websites in British Columbia, Canada and globally. The first ad, which features a montage of skiers and sweatshop workers, says: “Unfortunately, the Winter Olympics aren’t the only place we’re seeing a race to the bottom. Sportswear companies are also in a race to the bottom … on wages and working conditions.” New ads with a variety of similar messages will be launched every ten days in the run-up to the Olympics.
You can also help the campaign by distributing this appeal and by hosting the video ads on your own website or facebook page! Go to:
As a result of Play Fair 2008 Indonesian unions recently had a direct dialogue with sportswear brands and suppliers, we will send you an update on the outcomes shortly.
Please go to one of the links above or to this link to send the following message to Asica, Lotto, Mizuna, New balance, Nike, Adidas, Pentland and Puma.
I’ve reviewed the way your company responded to Play Fair 2008’s proposals on ways to clear the four major hurdles impeding progress on worker rights in your factories.

From what I’ve read at, very few of the targets set by Play Fair will be met unless you take action now to:
• develop a positive climate for freedom of association and collective bargaining;
• Eliminate the use of precarious employment in sportswear supply chains;
• Lessen both the frequency and negative impacts of factory closures; and
• Take steps to improve worker incomes, with the goal of reaching a living wage for all workers.
I believe the proposals and targets put forward by Play Fair are reasonable and necessary. Despite more than 15 years of codes of conduct adopted by major sportswear brands like your own, workers making sportswear products still face extreme pressure to meet production quotas, excessive, undocumented and unpaid overtime, verbal abuse, threats to health and safety related to the high quotas and exposure to toxic chemicals, and a failure to provide legally required health and other insurance programs. Many are facing precarious working arrangements, overwhelming obstacles to their right to unionize, and poverty wages.

It’s about time we set some deadlines for progress to be made on these critical issues. It’s time to undertake a set of actions with specific targets to ensure that when the next Olympic Games come around in 2012, workers can expect tangible improvements in their wages and working conditions rather than two more years of talk about vague commitments. It’s time to up your game and start clearing the hurdles for workers’ rights.

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