sweatfree-logoOur allies at SweatFree Communities, a local New England-based grassroots organizing campaign, are calling on all Massachusetts residents to make a statement against sweatshops tomorrow: our official tax day!  The NGO’s report Subsidizing Sweatshops I, released on July 1 of last year, found that U.S. tax dollars are STILL being spent on sweatshops, child labor, forced and unpaid overtime, and toxic conditions in government contractor facilities.

Elected officials, clergy, business owners and labor leaders will gather at State Houses and Post Offices in at least 12 U.S. cities on Tax Day (that’s tomorrow – April 15th!) to release a new report by SweatFree Communities revealing that U.S. states and cities, and the Federal government, continue to use taxpayer money to purchase goods from companies engaged in serious human rights and labor rights violations.

workersSubsidizing Sweatshops II is a follow-up to the groundbreaking first edition and includes in-depth interviews with workers in eight factories spanning five countries who produce uniforms for public employees such as police officers and parks service employees for nine major uniform brands. Six companies named in the report supply products to approved apparel vendors of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Sweatfree Campaign is calling on Governor Deval Patrick to join the Sweatfree Purchasing Consortium, which would stop tax dollar support for sweatshop abuses and level the playing field for ethical U.S. businesses. Since the report’s first edition was published in July 2008, more states and cities have committed to join the Consortium, including the State of Pennsylvania, the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the City of Portland, Oregon, and the City of Olympia, Washington.

HELP MASSACHUSETTS BECOME A SWEAT FREE STATE!

Join the action tomorrow:

–BOSTON—
WHEN: Wednesday, April 15, 2009, 9:30-10:00 a.m.
WHERE: Steps of Massachusetts State Capitol, Beacon St. at Park St., Boston
WHO: Guillermo Cosajay, garment worker at Eagle Industries, New Bedford, MA Liana Foxvog, National Organizer, SweatFree Communities Paul Hannon, Interim Executive Secretary, Catholic Labor Guild George Noel, Director of Labor, Commonwealth of Massachusetts (invited)

—NORTHAMPTON—
WHEN: Wednesday, April 15, 2009, 8:30-9:30 a.m.
WHERE: Main Post Office, 37 Bridge Street, Northampton, MA
WHO: Massachusetts Sweatfree Campaign supporters

Or, if you’re a tax filing procrastinator or not in Massachusetts, you can always officially endorse the campaign, start a campaign of your own, or support Sweat Free Communities.

For a more in-depth and fascinating look behind the scenes of how governments are supporting sweatshops, check out this video about where our military uniforms are made:

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