A Chronology of Failure
From its inception to the present day, the FLA has failed to produce effective or timely responses to egregious violations of worker rights. Time and again, the FLA has proven itself unable to address worker complaints and time and again taken the side of multinational corporations against workers.
Have you heard about some of those groundbreaking victories like Kukdong, BJ&B, and Dae Joo Leports, where university codes of conduct have really made a difference? If it were up to the FLA and its members, we wouldn’t have any of them! Check out the timeline below for some key moments in the FLA’s history of failing workers.
January, 2001: Workers at the Kukdong (Mexmode) factory in Mexico are beaten by riot police for demanding their rights. Nike responds by citing corporate audit report indicating that Kukdong is a model factory.
March, 2003: FLA touts their participation in the victory at the BJ&B factory where workers’ union is recognized and wins wage increases after a long struggle. Yet when BJ&B workers visited college campuses in 1998, Nike denied that violations were occurring, essentially preventing any improvements from being made for 5 years!
March, 2003: Primo factory in El Salvador illegally blacklists union members, making it impossible for these workers to find employment. FLA member Lands’ End denies that their factory is engaged in blacklisting, despite overwhelming evidence, citing the FLA as their cover.
December, 2003: Hundreds of workers at PT Victoria factory in Indonesia lose jobs after working several 24-hour shifts to finish orders for FLA member Eddie Bauer. Workers are owed over $1 million. Instead of taking action to fix the violations, FLA accredits Eddie Bauer’s labor compliance program in May 2005.
July, 2004: 1,800 workers lose jobs when Gildan Activewear closes their factory in Honduras to escape unionization efforts by workers. FLA does not require Gildan to reopen the factory or provide employment to the jobless workers.
July, 2004: FLA remains silent as FLA members Jansport and Adidas allow PT Dae Joo Leports factory to leave Indonesia in order to avoid providing health care benefits to workers and dealing with a union.
April, 2005: FLA refuses to take action as its members Puma and Nike cut and run from Lian Thai factory in Thailand, despite the factory having had made incredible progress on labor rights issues. This model factory is currently in danger of closing for lack of orders.
May, 2005: FLA accredits Eddie Bauer, despite the company having taken absolutely no action on the PT Victoria violations (see December, 2003).
August, 2005: FLA remains silent as member companies Reebok and Top of the World cut and run from Hana factory in Cambodia, in the middle of a WRC investigation.
February, 2006: Remember the BJ&B factory where workers won an unprecedented victory with the support of USAS in 2003? A BJ&B worker visits college campuses and explains that the factory is in danger of closing because FLA companies Nike and Reebok have been seriously reducing their orders. The FLA has done nothing to stop this, despite the apparent pride they took in seeing the factory drastically improve conditions in 2003.