Cumberland Times-News

Latest news

July 24, 2013

‘Made in Vietnam’ a concern for Teamsters

CUMBERLAND  — You can’t spend long looking to buy a new shirt, jeans or tennis shoes without reading “Made in Vietnam” on the label. And many of the clothes manufactured in that country’s huge apparel industry are made by companies licensed to produce clothing with college and university logos.

Teamsters union President James P. Hoffa, along with human rights leaders, say there’s a bleak reality behind imported clothing: Forced labor, child labor and gender discrimination, among other issues. And Vietnamese workers have no ability to organize independent unions, according to “Made in Vietnam,” a report issued by the Worker Rights Consortium.

“They should be held accountable for their labor and human rights violations,” Hoffa said. The situations that led to the death of more than 1,000 workers in a building collapse at a Bangladesh factory are not unique to that country, Hoffa said.

“The same thing is going on in Vietnam,” Hoffa said in a Wednesday conference call from Washington.

The report on Vietnam was issued in tandem with a conference call including Hoffa, Scott Nova, the executive director of the consortium, and John Sifton, the Asian advocacy director of Human Rights Watch. The call took place on the eve of Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang’s visit with President Barack Obama. Among the topics expected to be discussed by the two leaders are negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, essentially a package of free trade agreements between various nations, including the U.S., Canada and Australia, and Asian nations.

“The situation we found can only be described as grim,” Nova said. The U.S. Department of Labor has Vietnam on a list of countries that use child labor, Nova said. Children from rural communities are often purchased from their parents and shipped to work in urban factories, Nova said.

Hoffa and the human rights leaders want negotiations with Vietnam on the TPP suspended until human rights and labor conditions improve.

“If they’re going to join the TPP, they have to meet certain standards. ... Vietnam should not be rewarded for its bad behavior,” Hoffa said. Hoffa said he was urging Obama to bring up the labor and human rights issues and have a frank discussion with the Vietnamese president.

Monitoring the labor situation in Vietnam is difficult because there are no independent labor organizations and activists can face long prison sentences, Nova said. Recently, organizers of a strike in Vietnam were sentenced to seven- to 10-year prison terms, Nova said. Conditions set for women employees often include a requirement they not become pregnant for at least three years, Nova said.

“Made in Vietnam is largely synonymous with sweatshop labor,” Nova said.

Sifton said he hopes Obama will use the trade negotiations as leverage on human rights issues.

The trade relationship between the two countries is extensive.

“Vietnam is currently our 29th largest goods trading partner with $24.9 billion in total (two ways) goods trade during 2012. Goods exports totaled $4.6 billion; goods imports totaled $20.3 billion. The U.S. good trade deficit with Vietnam was $15.6 billion in 2012,” according to the Office of the U.S. Trade representative.

“U.S. goods imports from Vietnam totaled $20.3 billion in 2012, a 15.9 percent increase ($2.8 billion) from 2011. The top imports categories ... for 2012 were: knit apparel ($4.1 billion), woven apparel ($2.9 billion), footwear ($2.4 billion), furniture and bedding ($2.3 billion), and electrical machinery ($1.4 billion),” according to the trade representative website.

Nova said he hopes colleges and universities, especially those affiliated with his organization, will pressure suppliers to improve labor conditions in Vietnam. Vietnam is now the second largest producer of licensed college and university apparel, Nova said.

A request for comment made to the embassy of Vietnam received no response by press time.

The website of the Worker Rights Consortium may be found at www.workersrights. org/.

The Teamster’s website is www.teamster.org/.

Information on the TPP is available at www.ustr.gov/ tpp.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.

1
Text Only
Latest news
  • Springs, Pa., man missing since Jan. 6

    SPRINGS, Pa. — Pennsylvania State Police are seeking help to find a Springs man missing since Jan. 6.

     

    April 19, 2014

  • Man charged with handgun crime

    Timothy Hart Winkler, 30, Grantsville, was arrested by city officers early Friday after a complainant and a witness said he pulled a handgun during an argument in front of 124 Seymour St.
     

    April 19, 2014

  • Redman.asp.jpeg Moorefield man jailed on felony drug count

    KEYSER, W. Va. — A Moorefield man was arrested on various charges Thursday, including a felony drug offense for possession of amphetamines, according to the Keyser Police Department.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • City woman charged in domestic call

    CUMBERLAND — A city woman was arrested Thursday evening after Cumberland Police investigated a domestic assault complaint in the 100 block of Pennsylvania Avenue.

    April 18, 2014

  • Carlton.jpg Arrest made in alleged drug deal

    CUMBERLAND — A 25-year-old city man was arrested Thursday night after Cumberland Police observed him allegedly taking part in a drug deal on Columbia Street.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff warns of scams targeting taxpayers

    CUMBERLAND — Allegany County Sheriff Craig Robertson cautioned residents Thursday to be aware of continuing telephone scams that are targeting taxpayers.

    April 17, 2014

  • DSC_0446.JPG Oakland returns to normal after tanker accident

    OAKLAND — Nearly 12 hours after a propane tanker overturned in the heart of its business district, the town of Oakland returned to normal early Wednesday night.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • New River Gorge bald eagle dies from injuries

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A female bald eagle that nested in the New River Gorge has died from injuries suffered last month when she was hit by a train and later by a vehicle.
     

    April 17, 2014

  • 10 things to know for today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:
     

    April 17, 2014

  • Park Service opens Canal Classrooms Park Service opens Canal Classrooms

    CUMBERLAND – The National Park Service held a ribbon-cutting event Wednesday for a new program called Canal Classrooms, which will offer students pre-K through fifth grade accredited classwork on the Canal Place grounds.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Facebook
Must Read
House Ads
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday