AFL-CIO report on failures of social audits & certification at protecting workers rights - 2013
On 23 April 2013 the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL–CIO) released a report called "Responsibility Outsourced". AFL-CIO says that this report "digs underneath the façade of social auditing and certification schemes to reveal a deeply disturbing abdication of responsibilities on the part of both governments to protect human rights at the workplace and of companies to respect these rights by exercising due diligence regarding the impact of their business activities and their business relationships."
Responsibility Outsourced: Social Audits, Workplace Certification and Twenty Years of Failure to Protect Workers Rights [PDF], AFL-CIO, 23 Apr 2013
The report raises several serious labour rights concerns including anti-union activities, health & safety violations, harassment, forced overtime, non-payment of workers. It criticises several companies and organizations involved in social auditing and certification.
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited the companies criticised in the report to respond to the concerns raised.
- Apple did not respond
- Dole Foods indicated that its Dolefil subsidiary mentioned in the report is now owned by Dole International, a separate company. Dolefil response [PDF]
- Fibres & Fabrics Intl. [DOC] response. Fibres & Fabrics Intl. also sent us a court order dated 19 Feb 2007 and a report by the Commissioner of Labour
- Foxconn (part of Hon Hai) declined to respond
- GAP response [PDF]
- Giorgio Armani did not respond
- G-Star response [DOC]. G-Star also referred us to this article [PDF].
- Jones Group (formerly Jones Apparel Group) response [DOC]
- RI&CA did not respond
- RINA response [PDF]
- Walmart did not respond
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre also invited the social audit/compliance organizations mentioned in the report to respond.
- Social Accountability Intl. (SAI) response. SAI also sent us a "corrections list" which it prepared in response to the report.
- Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) response [PDF]
The Cahn Group also sent us a statement in response to the report:
On 20 May 2013 we recieved the following rejoinder from AFL-CIO.
We invited SAI, SAAS, WRAP and Fabrics & Fibres to respond to the rejoinder. Their responses / non-responses are below:
Social Accountability Intl. (SAI) response
Social Accountability Accreditation Services (SAAS) response [PDF]
Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) says it stands by its initial response
Fibres & Fabrics Intl. declined to respond further
The report also raises concerns about adidas' alleged non-payment of Indonesian supplier workers. In Apr 2013 adidas settled this dispute.