The Fair Labor Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending sweatshop conditions. We fully support this cause and organization. Being a supporter is one thing, truly understanding he benchmarks they have outlined that constitute good working conditions is slightly more complex. The FLA has assembled a 28 page document that outlines the benchmarks used to determine if a factory is providing good working conditions for their employees. Here’s a link to that .pdf
These benchmarks cover all the basic elements such as wages, child labor restrictions, sanitary conditions, etc. What they do not cover are environmental practices in operations. We have discussed our efforts in that area in previous blog posts and will have even more on that topic in the future as it is a concern we also strongly believe in.
Rao and I have both spent significant time at our factory and with our vendors. Not only to work with them in developing Common Soles products, but to observe operations and ensure they offer fair working conditions. In fact, we have found that the factory owners and management are the ones who often struggle the most in executing their jobs as workers are often very transient and repeatedly don’t show up to work and/or leave early, etc. Managing such a workforce is extremely challenging and is often the reason for many of the delays in completing product orders on time in the footwear manufacturing industry. The owners and managers are forced to offer sizable incentives and other perks to workers to complete quality work on time, and as such have found that the workers have an increasing level of control over their own conditions (a good thing in ways!).
Just some info we thought you'd find interesting. We are grateful for organizations such as the FLA, for without them it would certainly be even more of a mess out there. Learn more about the FLA by visiting their website: www.fairlabor.org