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Monday, September 07, 2020


by Maria Lisella

Tell clothing brands to support workers by signing the Transparency Pledge. The vast majority of workers do not know whom to turn to for improving their working conditions because the brands they make clothes for are kept secret. This lack of transparency allows brands to avoid accountability and fuels abuses against workers. Transparency benefits workers—they can inform brands when they experience labor abuses. Transparency also helps brands—they can better take steps to stop and prevent labor abuses. Currently, 40 companies have committed to the Transparency Pledge, but hundreds continue to hide where they make their clothes. Workers and shoppers deserve to know where brands make their clothes. This shopping season, call on American Eagle Outfitters, Armani, Carrefour and URBN (Urban Outfitters, Free People, Anthropologie, Nuuly) to support workers by publishing a list of all factories that make their branded products. —Human Rights Watch

It required a stitch or two and so I tacked it
the two tabs that were sticking out
of her cheap striped shirt—
made in Bangladesh reads the label
where women who know nothing
about raised fists of labor united or
the IWW, or the AFL-CIO, sweat
for 14 hours a day, and 35 cents an hour
turn out shirts just like this one stitched
with labels that read: H&M, Calvin Klein,
Ann Taylor, Zara, Target and, yet,
when a factory goes up in flames or
crumbles to the ground in New Delhi,
Bangladesh, Ahmedabad, collapsing
into tangles of steel, concrete blocks,
mortar, or fizzle in flames, the label-owners
deny those women have ever
been making their products and those
women have nothing to do with their
$2.4 trillion dollars in profits.

Maria Lisella is the outgoing Queens Poet Laureate and a newly-named fellow of the American Academy of Poets; she is a travel writer by trade.