United States Department of Labour

Apparel Industry Partnership's Agreement

April 14, 1997

Summary of the agreement
Chronology of Clinton Administration's No Sweat Initiatie
Apparel Industry Partnership's Agreement

Members of the Apparel Industry Partnership


Summary of the agreement

The Apparel Industry Partnership agreement contains the following:

Chronology on Clinton Administration's
No Sweat Initiative

Summer 1993 Secretary Reich launches initiative to fight sweatshops.
Spring 1994 National Conference on Garment Workers in NYC.
Fall 1994 Labor Department hosts Retailer Roundtable in Washington, DC.
August 2, 1995 El Monte, CA sweatshop busted for slavery. Sec. Reich steps up fight against sweatshops.
September 1995 Retailer Summit in NYC on how to improve industry compliance with workplace standards.
December 1995 Secretary Reich announces Trendsetter List -- retailers and manufacturers working to end sweatshops in the US.
May 1996 First Quarterly Enforcement Report Released by the Labor Department.
May 1996 DOL investigation reveals that Kathy Lee Gifford's clothing line being made in sweatshops. Gifford and Sec. Reich join forces to fight abuse.
July 1996 Sec. Reich hosts Fashion Industry Forum. Kathy Lee Gifford, Cheryl Tiegs and 300 fashion industry representatives -- including retailers, manufacturers, designers, workers, labor and consumer advocates -- participate.
Summer 1996 Legislation introduced on Capitol Hill to hold manufacturers and retailers liable for the conditions under which their contractors operate.
August 2, 1996 President Clinton brings a diverse group of industry, labor, and human rights leaders to the White House to discuss industry conditions. The Apparel Industry Partnership is formed, and challenged by the President to take steps to assure that company products are made in compliance with acceptable labor standards, and to inform consumers that the products they buy are not made under exploitative conditions. The group agrees to report back in six months.
Fall 1996 Monitoring Workshops for manufacturers and retailers in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Sept 1996-April 1997 The Apparel Industry Partnership meets regularly with technical assistance from the Administration.
October 1996 Release of Volume 3 of the international child labor report, By the Sweat and Toil of Children on the impact of Codes of Conduct on child labor conditions in the apparel industry.
December 1996 Department of Labor’s No Sweat Initiative receives Innovations in American Government Award from the Ford Foundation and John F. Kennedy School of Government.
January 1997 Clinton Administration has collected more than $10.4 million in back wages for minimum wage and overtime violations for more than 34,000 garment workers across the country.
February 1997 Labor Department pledges funding to International Labor Organizations’ initiative against child labor in the Pakistani soccer ball industry.
March 25, 1997 Three companies added to the Trendsetter List, bringing the total to 34 companies representing over 125 apparel lines and tens of thousands of retail stores.
April 14, 1997 Apparel Industry Partnership presents its agreement and plan of action to end sweatshops to President Clinton at the White House.

Apparel Industry Partnership's Agreement

Workplace Code of Conduct

The Apparel Industry Partnership has addressed issues related to the eradication of sweatshops in the United States and abroad. On the basis of this examination, the Partnership has formulated the following set of standards defining decent and humane working conditions. The Partnership believes that consumers can have confidence that products that are manufactured in compliance with these standards are not produced under exploitative or inhumane conditions.

Forced Labor. There shall not be any use of forced labor, whether in the form of prison labor, indentured labor, bonded labor or otherwise.

Child Labor. No person shall be employed at an age younger than 15 (or 14 where the law of the country of manufacture1 allows) or younger than the age for completing compulsory education in the country of manufacture where such age is higher than 15.

Harassment or Abuse. Every employee shall be treated with respect and dignity. No employee shall be subject to any physical, sexual, psychological or verbal harassment or abuse.

Nondiscrimination. No person shall be subject to any discrimination in employment, including hiring, salary, benefits, advancement, discipline, termination or retirement, on the basis of gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, nationality, political opinion, or social or ethnic origin.

Health and Safety. Employers shall provide a safe and healthy working environment to prevent accidents and injury to health arising out of, linked with, or occurring in the course of work or as a result of the operation of employer facilities.

Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining. Employers shall recognize and respect the right of employees to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Wages and Benefits. Employers recognize that wages are essential to meeting employees' basic needs. Employers shall pay employees, as a floor, at least the minimum wage required by local law or the prevailing industry wage, whichever is higher, and shall provide legally mandated benefits.

Hours of Work. Except in extraordinary business circumstances, employees shall (i) not be required to work more than the lesser of (a) 48 hours per week and 12 hours overtime or (b) the limits on regular and overtime hours allowed by the law of the country of manufacture or, where the laws of such country do not limit the hours of work, the regular work week in such country plus 12 hours overtime and (ii) be entitled to at least one day off in every seven day period.

Overtime Compensation. In addition to their compensation for regular hours of work, employees shall be compensated for overtime hours at such premium rate as is legally required in the country of manufacture or, in those countries where such laws do not exist, at a rate at least equal to their regular hourly compensation rate.

Any company that determines to adopt the Workplace Code of Conduct shall, in addition to complying with all applicable laws of the country of manufacture, comply with and support the Workplace Code of Conduct in accordance with the attached Principles of Monitoring and shall apply the higher standard in cases of differences or conflicts. Any company that determines to adopt the Workplace Code of Conduct also shall require its contractors and, in the case of a retailer, its suppliers to comply with applicable local laws and with this Code in accordance with the attached Principles of Monitoring and to apply the higher standard in cases of differences or conflicts.

Principles of Monitoring

I. Obligations of Companies 2

A. Establish Clear Standards

B. Create An Informed Workplace

Ensure that all company factories as well as contractors and suppliers inform their employees about the workplace standards orally and through the posting of standards in a prominent place (in the local languages spoken by employees and managers) and undertake other efforts to educate employees about the standards on a regular basis

C. Develop An Information Database

D. Establish Program to Train Company Monitors

Provide training on a regular basis to company monitors about the workplace standards and applicable local and international law, as well as about effective monitoring practices, so as to enable company monitors to be able to assess compliance with the standards

E. Conduct Periodic Visits and Audits

F. Provide Employees With Opportunity to Report Noncompliance

Develop a secure communications channel, in a manner appropriate to the culture and situation, to enable company employees and employees of contractors and suppliers to report to the company on noncompliance with the workplace standards, with security that they will not be punished or prejudiced for doing so

G. Establish Relationships with Labor, Human Rights, Religious or Other Local Institutions

H. Establish Means of Remediation

II. Obligations of Independent External Monitors

A. Establish Clear Evaluation Guidelines and Criteria

Establish clear, written criteria and guidelines for evaluation of company compliance with the workplace standards

B. Review Company Information Database

Conduct independent review of written data obtained by company to verify and quantify compliance with the workplace standards

C. Verify Creation of Informed Workplace

Verify that company employees and employees of contractors and suppliers have been informed about the workplace standards orally, through the posting of standards in a prominent place (in the local languages spoken by employees and managers) and through other educational efforts

D. Verify Establishment of Communications Channel

Verify that the company has established a secure communications channel to enable company employees and employees of contractors and suppliers to report to the company on noncompliance with the workplace standards, with security that they will not be punished or prejudiced for doing so

E. Be Given Independent Access to, and Conduct Independent Audit of, Employee Records

F. Conduct Periodic Visits and Audits

Conduct periodic announced and unannounced visits, on a confidential basis, of an appropriate sampling of company factories and facilities of contractors and suppliers to survey compliance with the workplace standards

G. Establish Relationships with Labor, Human Rights, Religious or Other Local Institutions

H. Conduct Confidential Employee Interviews

I. Implement Remediation

Work, where appropriate, with company factories and contractors and suppliers to correct instances of noncompliance with the workplace standards

J. Complete Evaluation Report

Complete report evaluating company compliance with the workplace standards


1 All references to local law throughout this Code shall include regulations implemented in accordance with applicable local law.

2 It is recognized that implementation by companies of internal monitoring programs might vary depending upon the extent of their resources but that any internal monitoring program adopted by a company would be consistent with these Principles of Monitoring. If companies do not have the resources to implement some of these Principles as part of an internal monitoring program, they may delegate the implementation of such Principles to their independent external monitors.

3 Adoption of the Workplace Code of Conduct would satisfy the requirement to establish and articulate clear written standards. Accordingly, all references to the "workplace standards" and the "standards" throughout this document could be replaced with a reference to the Workplace Code of Conduct.

4 These Principles of Monitoring should apply to contractors where the company adopting the workplace standards is a manufacturer (including a retailer acting as a manufacturer) and to suppliers where the company adopting the standards is a retailer (including a manufacturer acting as a retailer). A "contractor" or a "supplier" shall mean any contractor or supplier engaged in a manufacturing process, including cutting, sewing, assembling and packaging, which results in a finished product for the consumer.

Members of Apparel Industry Partnership


Liz Claiborne, Inc.
Paul Charron, Chairman and CEO
Nicole Miller, Inc.
Bud Konheim, CEO
National Consumers League
Linda Golodner, President
NIKE, Inc.
Philip Knight, Chairman of the Board and CEO
Business for Social Responsibility
Robert Dunn, President and CEO
David Olsen, CEO
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility
David Schilling, Director
Phillips-Van Heusen
Bruce Klatsky, CEO
International Labor Rights Fund
Pharis Harvey, Executive Director
Reebok International, Ltd.
Paul Fireman, CEO
Karen Kane, Inc.
Lonnie Kane, CEO and President
Retail Wholesale Department Store Union, AFL-CIO
Lenore Miller, President
Kathie Lee Gifford Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights
Sandra Cuneo, Executive Director
Lawyers Committee for Human Rights
Michael Posner, Executive Director
Tweeds, Inc.
Martin Brill, President
LL Bean, Inc.
Tom Harden, Senior Vice President
Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE)
Jay Mazur

This code is online: http://www.dol.gov

Globalization and Workers' Rights


International Labour Office
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