New Rules Would Prevent St. Louis County From Buying Clothes Made In Sweatshops

Feb 26, 2013

The St. Louis County Council is considering changes to its purchasing procedures that would prohibit vendors from supplying it with garments made under sweatshop conditions. 

Councilman Pat Dolan said he introduced the changes during Tuesday night’s council meeting at the request of municipalities in his district.

While Dolan said he’d prefer everything bought by the county was made in America, these changes will ensure the basic civil rights of workers are being met.

“If it’s out of the county and fair labor standards apply in that country, then they have to abide by them,” Dolan said.  

Dolan said he has no knowledge of the county currently purchasing items made in sweatshops.

Under the proposed rule changes, a vendor that purchases apparel for the county will not be allowed to fulfill a contract if any items come from a sweatshop, and sweatshop practices are defined in part as failing to comply with labor laws of the country where the garments were made and exposing workers to toxic chemicals.

The changes propose that a representative from a vendor would have to sign an affidavit that clothing being sold to the county was not made under sweatshop conditions.

“They’d have to guarantee that the right practices are performed in the manufacturing,” Dolan said.    

Any vender that does not comply would be barred from doing business with the county for one year. 

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