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Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey Pushes Anti-Sweatshop Ordinance

Friday, April 24, 2015
CBS Local
by Craig Dellimore

A Cook County commissioner has introduced a measure that would require county uniforms and other goods be produced in humane conditions.

Modeled after an anti-sweatshop law in Chicago, the ordinance proposed by Commissioner John Fritchey (D-12th) would require companies that sell goods and clothing to the county to sign affidavits asserting they and their subcontractors are free of sweatshop labor.

“There’s a price to be paid in real lives when we don’t ethically and humanely source our products,” he said. “We don’t want tainted products, we don’t want tainted goods, and we’re going to take our steps. So we need to lead by example.”

Fritchey said acknowledged officials don’t know if any uniforms or other goods purchased by the county currently come from sweatshops, but he said the ordinance would put all vendors on notice.

“You tell us where you’re getting your products from. You tell us that you’ve done your due diligence. We don’t want you to submit the low bid because you’re getting products as a result of child labor, or slave labor, or products that are coming from unsafe conditions,” he said.

county logo Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey Pushes Anti Sweatshop Ordinance

Katherine Bissell Cordova, director of Chicago Fair Trade, said the county currently cannot say where it gets its uniforms.

“Starting today, the county will be looking, and asking their vendors to look, and say ‘You can no longer just say I don’t know where.’ Major brands don’t know where they’re sourcing from. There are subcontractors under subcontractors under subcontractors,” she said.

Under Fritchey’s proposal, county vendors would have to find out where the goods they supply are made.



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