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Report Links Illinois to Overseas ‘Sweatshops’

SHARE Report Links Illinois to Overseas ‘Sweatshops’

A report set for release today says some uniforms worn by state of Illinois employees come from companies that allegedly abuse garment workers.

A labor-and religious-backed group called SweatFree Communities interviewed workers in nine countries, including China and Honduras. They say factory conditions range from physical abuse to forced overtime. Illinois buys uniforms from at least three companies linked to the factories.

Victoria Kaplan of SweatFree Communities says Illinois ought to join with Pennsylvania, Maine and New York. They’re organizing to clean up the industry.

KAPLAN: We’ve lost a lot of garment manufacturing jobs because of the depressed conditions in other parts of the world. So if we can improve working conditions in other countries, that’s going to level the playing field.

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Illinois’ Central Management Services says the companies in question are in line with state procurement rules. Those include a ban on goods made in sweatshops.

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