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.
In August 2016, FLA Participating Company Syngenta was scheduled to begin the first phase of its pilot project for ensuring minimum wage payments to seed production workers, as a step toward fair compensation at Syngenta-supplying farms in India. The first phase of the project will cover approximately 750 farmworkers in all production capacities in as many as seven villages producing hot pepper seeds in the state of Maharashtra, with the second phase (set to begin in October) covering nearly 2000 corn de-tasseling workers in ten to 15 villages in Andhra Pradesh.
On August 3, 2016, the FLA published its first annual report on compensation in affiliated company supply chains, based on data collected by FLA factory assessors in 2015. The report presents the findings from this data collection effort, covering 124 factories in 21 countries, providing a snapshot of the relationship between wages paid in factories and local wage benchmarkes.
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.
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.