Standing with Garment Workers and Working for Structural Reform During COVID-19

About the Initiative

“Standing with Garment Workers and Working for Structural Reform During Covid-19” by Worker Rights Consortium is a project to support garment workers in securing their livelihoods and protecting their rights during the crisis created by the pandemic by holding brands and retailers accountable for the well-being of the workers who make their clothing and advocating for protections and reforms to secure workers’ rights in the long-term.

Why is now the time to act?     

“Garment workers are facing an extraordinary crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic. Firstly, workers who lose their jobs, or face severe pay cuts, are unable to feed and house themselves and their families. Secondly, workers are being forced to return to factories that lack PPE/social distancing protocols, which means they are not being protected from COVID-19. Finally, brands have been allowed to shift the costs of the pandemic from themselves to the low-income workers in their supply chains who are least able to afford it, emboldening brands to continue such behavior and entrenching the power imbalances in the garment industry.”

What is your vision of change for the global economy with this initiative?

“Our goal is to ensure garment workers’ livelihoods and their ability to exercise their rights are protected during this crisis. We will help ensure that workers continue to receive their wages and can keep caring for themselves and their families. We will help make sure that workers receive the PPE and health protections they need in order to work safely during the pandemic, and that they can secure their other rights, including the right to organize. Finally, we will work to bring about structural reforms to the garment industry so that risks and costs are distributed more fairly among brands, suppliers, and workers.”

How do you plan to leverage RVF support?

“RVF’s support will allow us to expand the resources we can devote to this crucial work. By collaborating with the RVF, we will have opportunities to discuss our work with funders in the coalition, receive possible technical support from (or make connections with) other grantees that may have ideas about our uses of technology for research projects, and access to trainings on ways to operate more effectively during the COVID-19 crisis.”

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