Fair Labor in Action
In 2011 alone, an estimated 5.5 million workers were impacted by the combined efforts of the civil society organizations, universities and companies that are working together as part of FLA. The true measure of success, however, is the nature of the impact – the degree to which workers are more respected by their employers, have more of a voice in their own futures, and feel safer at work. Through its independent monitoring and third party complaint process, FLA has helped bring about real and lasting change for workers everywhere, including trade union recognition; rehiring of unfairly fired workers with back pay; improved labor-management relations in factories; and training and education programs for management and workers. To learn more about how FLA is protecting workers' rights worldwide, read the case studies and annual reports below.
During the 2015 factory assessment cycle in Vietnam, FLA assessors identified a number of instances of monetary penalties used as discipline. Because of how these deductions were designed and implemented, they may not appear to brands to violate the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct as obviously as a direct salary deduction would. However, any disciplinary penalty that reduces a worker’s pay constitutes a violation of the FLA Code (benchmark 2, “Monetary Fines and Penalties” under “Harassment or Abuse”).
FLA assessors detected instances of the following monetary penalties:
Assessors conducting factory visits in Egypt for the FLA and its affiliated brands have recently detected a very common wage-related violation in Egypt’s free trade zones. Established in 1997, Egypt’s 10 free trade zones – where most large manufacturing facilities are located – provide companies sourcing from Egypt with incentives, like tax exemptions, and also operate under labor regulations that may differ from other areas of the country.
The collecting and organizing of data on compensation paid to workers in global supply chains is vital due diligence work. To help FLA-affiliated companies begin to retrieve and analyze compensation data from their own supply chains, the FLA has released a new data-collection tool, and an accompanying guidance document (linked below). During the FLA's 2015 SCI factory assessment cycle, FLA staff tested the data-collection template, and the version linked here benefits from their feedback on its use.
At the beginning of September, FLA Vice President of Programs Jason Judd participated in the "Squaring Higher Wages and Competitiveness" conference in Ankara, co-hosted by the Just Jobs Network and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). In preparation for this conference, the FLA prepared a chapter of material describing its latest work on fair compensation, which was distributed to all conference participan
A new Oxfam International report summarizing living wage progress in five countries cites the FLA's leadership -- along with the Ethical Trading Initiative -- to organize US and European brands to express strong support for meaningful and inclusive minimum wage negotiations in Myanmar, in pursuit of fair compensation for garment workers. The report cites findings from a June/July 2015 survey of 123 garment workers in Myanmar, reporting that 90 percent of workers are unable to save any of their income.
In 2014, the FLA experienced a year of restructuring, renewed commitment, and program advancement, overseen by a former country director for the International Labour Organization (ILO), who returned to the ILO after helping return the organization to financial health and stability. The Annual Public Report for 2014 demonstrates key ways the FLA advanced during this transitional year:
2013 was year of transition and recalibration for the FLA. While this report explains the challenges the FLA encountered in maintaining due diligence during 2013, it also reports the FLA's successes that year, such as the adoption of Principle 8, the continued development of the Sustainable Compliance (SCI) methodology, and the implementation of a new fire-safety training program. 2013 culminated with the hiring of the new president of the FLA, Claudia Coenjaerts, who shares her vision for the future of the FLA as part of this report.
2012 was a year of tremendous growth for the Fair Labor Association, and the impact of its work could be felt at all corners of the world. Companies' efforts to promote and uphold FLA's labor standards in their product supply chains helped to improve conditions for workers everywhere - from farms in Cote d'Ivoire to electronics manufacturing facilities in China.
Excerpt from President's Message: This year the civil society organizations, universities and companies affiliated with FLA made strides in their efforts to improve workers' lives, laying the foundation for the organization’s next chapter of impact and growth. In June, for example, FLA’s Board of Directors approved a number of enhancements to the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct for the first time since its adoption in 1999. Working together over the course of nearly three years, FLA stakeholders developed substantive improvements to the FLA Code.
In 2010, the international labor community was stunned by the Foxconn suicides and unsettled by the Honda strike in China. These events, while troubling, were not entirely surprising; the era of an endless stream of docile workers willing to labor for low wages had been coming to an end for some time. The suicides and strikes were but two of the most disturbing signs of underlying turmoil.
EA works with a supplier factory in Mexico to protect worker health and safety and remedy issues related to wages and benefits following an FLA assessment.
Acushnet Company works with supplier in Thailand to protect workers' rights to freedom of association following an FLA assessment.
Following an FLA assessment, VF Corporation works with supplier in El Salvador to ensure accurate compensation for overtime work.
adidas and Nike work with a Vietnamese apparel supplier to prevent forced labor, respect freedom of association, and protect the health and safety of the factory's 2,275 workers following an FLA assessment.
adidas and Forty Seven Brand work with supplier in Bangladesh to prevent discrimination against pregnant women following an FLA assessment.