Press Release by Congresswoman Pelosi

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Denouncing China's Abuses of Its Labor Force

March 18, 1998

Today, I am proud to join with Charles Kernaghan, National Labor Committee Executive Director, and my colleagues Representatives Bernie Sanders and Marcy Kaptur in calling for an end to child labor and sweatshop conditions in China.

The National Labor Committee's "Behind the Label: Made in China" report documents atrocious labor and human rights abuses in Chinese factories producing clothing that finds its way onto the shelves of major U.S. department stores. This is no bargain for American consumers when the cost is in human dignity and fair treatment for workers.

The working and living conditions documented in this report violate China's labor laws:

A vast majority of the four million apparel workers in China are young women from rural areas who are unaware of their legal rights and have never heard of US corporate codes of conduct. Workers can be fined for even discussing factory conditions and there are no independent human rights, labor or religious organizations to provide protections.

Although some American companies attempt to monitor factory conditions in China, factories operate behind a veil of secrecy and are part of a growing network of subcontractors. Many U.S. companies may not even be aware of where their garments are being produced, or whether human rights are being violated.

American consumers have a right to know under what conditions the clothes they are purchasing were made. I am proud to endorse the National Corporate Disclosure Campaign and call on Corporate America to show its leadership by voluntarily taking the step to pull back the veil so that we may all see if therein lies the face of a child.

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