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Portland Adopts Sweatshop Free Policy for City Uniforms

November 14, 2008

Source: Northwest Labor Press, Sweatshop Free Communities

In October, Portland, Oregon became the Northwest's first city to adopt a sweatshop-free purchasing policy for uniforms and other public employee apparel.  The resolution adopting the policy passed unanimously at a meeting of the Portland City Council on the 15th of the month.

The Portland Sweatfree Policy established a strong code of conduct for garment workers that make uniforms for city police, firefighters and other uniform wearing public employees. The policy requires city agencies to procure public employee uniforms and other apparel only from those companies that disclose the locations of their manufacturing facilities and abide by ethical sourcing practices. The new policy covers only apparel.  However, City Commissioner and Mayor-elect Sam Adams says he will work to expand the policy to cover other items purchased by the city.

The policy has been promoted by the Portland Sweatfree Campaign, endorsed by 45 organizations, including labor, faith, and community organizations. In August of 2007, the City Council passed a resolution presented by the Portland Sweatfree Campaign that established the Portland Sweatshop Free Policy Committee.  The committtee then met regularly to formulate the policy that passed in October, 2008.

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