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					                                                                                 2008-2009 ALA CD#9.1
                                                                                 2009 ALA Midwinter Meeting

                    Sweat-Shop Free Purchasing at the American Library Association
                                      Implementation Report #1


On July 1, 2008, the American Library Association Council adopted ALACD #58, a resolution which
concluded:
   That the American Library Association (ALA) and its divisions, round tables, and all other units
   should purchase all products for distribution to membership from sweatshop free producers; and
   that this resolution and information about how to comply with it shall be distributed to all ALA
   divisions, round tables, all other units and ALA staff.

Implementation ................................................................................................................. 1
   ALA Vendors .................................................................................................................. 1
   Typical ALA Purchases .................................................................................................. 1
   Vendor Questionnaire – sent 12/18/08 ........................................................................... 2
   Responses ........................................................................................................................ 3
Sweatshop-Free Shopping Resources .............................................................................. 4
History ................................................................................................................................ 4
Issues .................................................................................................................................. 5
Sweatshop Policy Resources............................................................................................. 5
University, City and State Actions .................................................................................. 6
Future Actions ................................................................................................................... 6
Responding Vendors ......................................................................................................... 6

Implementation

ALA Vendors
The first effort was to find out which vendors ALA already has relationships with and whether they had
sweatshop free policies. Although many units in ALA depend on Staff Support Services’ Purchasing
Manager to identify, solicit quotes and generally act as liaison for some purchases, there is no mandate or
policy to use this resource. In fall 2008, ALA units were asked to submit names and contact information
of vendors they use and the items they purchase for give-aways. The request was fine-tuned to inquire
about items sold by units, though the majority remained items that are given away.

Forty-two vendors were named by 17 units. A description of the items typically purchased is below.
Many of the resources used by the Purchasing Manager, excluding printers and other service-oriented
businesses, were included with the 42 vendors.

Typical ALA Purchases
Purchases depend on the goals and resources of the unit. Some items are given away en masse as
promotional items. Others are gifts for volunteers, raffle wins, or staff gear.

     Apparel                                                                     Shirts/Vests – 2
     Bags – 4                                                                    T-shirts – 3
     Baseball caps – 1
     Pullovers – 1                                                               Electronics



                                                                                                                                              1
iPods – 2                                            Coolers – 1
                                                     Desk Accessories – 1
Food                                                 Desk calendars - 1
Apples – 1                                           Folding cubes – 1
Candy – 1                                            Handheld fans – 1
Chocolates – 1                                       Journals – 1
Dinner – 1                                           Key tags - 1
                                                     Magnets – 3
                                                     Mousepads – 2
Work related                                         Mugs – 3
Badge holders – 4                                    Notepads – 4
Polo shirts – 1                                      Paperweights – 1
                                                     Pens – 9
Other                                                Pins – 1
Bag clips – 1                                        Printed materials – 1
Balls – 1                                            Ribbons – 1
Bookmark holders – 1                                 Rubber and wooden stamps – 1
Bookmarks – 2                                        Shower timers - 1
Business card memos – 1                              Stickers - 1
Buttons – 3                                          Stress balls - 1
Cartons – 1                                          Temporary Tattoos – 1
Computer brushes – 1                                 Waterbottles – 1


Vendor Questionnaire – sent 12/18/08
On December 18, 2008, current ALA vendors were sent the following email:
    The American Library Association has recently determined that it will make efforts to
    purchase products from sweatshop-free producers. The International Labor Rights
    Forum defines sweatshops as “workplaces where basic worker rights are not respected”
    in the United States and abroad. One or more divisions of the American Library
    Association have purchased items from you in the past. We would like to know how
    your company addresses this concern. Please respond to this brief questionnaire on or
    before January 7, 2009 (below or via SurveyMonkey-
    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=njNcdFrJKKkQFdXBhq1aCQ_3d_3d). We
    know the timing isn’t optimal but happy holidays and thank you.

     We are asking that all vendors certify that their products and services are produced
     consistent with sweatshop free policies where workers are protected by laws and, at a
     minimum, core labor rights defined by the International Labour Organization –
     http://www.ilo.org.

    1. Do you have a policy against selling, distributing or advertising materials produced in
       sweatshops?
    2. Can you guarantee that none of your products sold was created in a sweat-shop?
    3. Can you or do you identify manufacturers that you do business with which do not
       manufacture, distribute or sell products produced in sweat-shops?
    4. Do you sell products easily identified as Made in the USA?
    5. Do you sell products made from recycled or post-consumer materials?
    6. Do you sell products made from eco-friendly or sustainable materials?
    7. Comments?

Please respond back to me with your answers by or before January 7, 2009. Thank you.



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Responses
Twenty-seven vendors (64 percent) had responded as of January 14, 2009. Overall, the vendors
used by ALA units appear to at least try not to do business with US or foreign sweatshop
factories/manufacturers. ALA units conduct business with local, small, regional, national, and
international vendors. Follow-up calls will be made to the remainder, including larger vendors
such as Apple, Lands End, and Amazon. The vendors ranged from awareness to surprise at the
question. For a few vendors the questions were not applicable, e.g., asking the LobsterGuy
(lobster dinners for raffles) if any recycled products were sold.

The question caused many transfers by phone and email to just the right person to answer,
whether it was the owner of the company, someone in purchasing, or a customer service
representative.

It was obvious that the purchasing chain removes the distributors of small and commodity
products from the factory or manufacturer through brokers, distributors and other arrangements.
There are many unknowns and unasked and unanswered questions for these distributors.

    1. Do you have a policy against selling, distributing or advertising materials produced in
        sweatshops?
    19 vendors (70 percent of respondents) answered some form of “yes”. Explanations
    ranged from a written policy (one vendor), to policies in action that were unwritten, to
    we manufacture our products in the United States, to “not in the
    factories/manufacturers we visited overseas,” to “not to our knowledge.” The latter
    explanations were usually from distributors which do not have as much direct control
    or knowledge about the individual products sold. Four had no policy and one had a
    policy only for custom orders.

    2. Can you guarantee that none of your products sold was created in a sweat-shop?
    Fifteen (55 percent) said they could guarantee this, either because they were intimate
    with the production details or because they were willing to find out upon request.

    3. Can you or do you identify manufacturers that you do business with which do not
       manufacture, distribute or sell products produced in sweat-shops?
    Thirteen (48 percent) of the vendors could identify manufacturers, and others thought it
    might be possible.

    4. Do you sell products easily identified as Made in the USA?
    Twenty-four (88 percent) sell products made primarily in the USA (see below for
    definition). A few vendors said their products came primarily from Asian countries.

    5. Do you sell products made from recycled or post-consumer materials?
    Nineteen (70 percent) sell products made from recycled materials.

    6. Do you sell products made from eco-friendly or sustainable materials?
    Twenty-one (77 percent) sell eco-friendly products.

    7. Comments?
    One vendor mentioned the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act and its
    General Certificate of Conformity - http://www.cpsc.gov/ABOUT/Cpsia/cpsia.HTML.




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    The next report may address whether this Act has an impact on the vendors used by
    ALA.

Sweatshop-Free Shopping Resources

Below are sites that list companies that are verified to be sweatshop-free. These companies sell
products that may be within the realm of typical ALA purchases. In addition, there are
organizations that verify sweat-free status for various industries, such as the RugMark Foundation
(www.rugmark.org) for rugs, which are not in the purview of most ALA purchases.

         Sweatfree Communities Conscience Community Guide -
          http://www.sweatfree.org/shoppingguide
         Fair Labor Association Accredited Participating Companies -
          http://www.fairlabor.org/fla_affiliates_a1.html Accredited companies agree to comply
          with the FLA Code and Obligations of Companies and pay a fee.
         Green America (products produced in unionized factories) National Green Pages -
          http://www.coopamerica.org/pubs/greenpages/. All listed companies have been screened
          by Co-op America - http://www.coopamerica.org/cabn/about/screening.cfm.
              o Relevant categories for ALA purchases (recommend to search Anywhere rather
                  than by particular state)
                        Advertising/Marketin                                  Flowers
                         g/PR                                                  Gifts
                        Artifacts/Traditional                                 Office/Desk Supplies
                         Pieces (for gifts)                                    Packaging
                        Bags/Baskets                                          Paper products
                        Cards/Calendars/Post                                  Printing
                         ers                                                   Seafood (raffle
                        Chocolate                                              dinner)
                        Clothing                                              T-shirts
                        Exercise/Sporting                                     Toys
                         Goods

History

Most of the high profile targets of sweatshop complaints are large apparel retailers and
manufacturers, such as Nike, Kathie Lee Gifford, Wal-Mart. There are varying reports on the
magnitude of sweatshop production and presence. Countries of interest include Bangladesh,
India, China, Mexico, and even the United States through human trafficking and hiring of
immigrants at low wages. Human rights standards seem to lag behind quality assurance and
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) qualifications.

Sweat-shop proponents argue that they raise the standard of living for workers and that their
wages are higher than they would be if they were farming or unemployed. Sweat-shop opponents
argue that the lack of worker protection means they work in substandard conditions, work
extended hours and worse. For those in countries with labor laws, they are sometimes ignored by
factory managers and owners.

There are accreditations and certifications and codes of ethics, but thus far there is no national or
global way to identify a pen or handheld fan as sweatshop-free other than to trust the vendor who
would identify the manufacturer or distributor as compliant. With apparel, it may be easier since




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there are fabrics and factories that satisfy the Federal Trade Commission’s definition that the
apparel is made in the United States.
       A product that is all or virtually all made in the United States will ordinarily be one
       in which all significant parts and processing that go into the product are of U.S.
       origin... In order for a product to be considered "all or virtually all" made in the
       United States, the final assembly or processing of the product must take place in the
       United States. Beyond this minimum threshold, the Commission will consider other
       factors, including but not limited to the portion of the product's total manufacturing
       costs that are attributable to U.S. parts and processing; and how far removed from
       the finished product any foreign content is. Enforcement Policy Statement on U.S.
       Origins Claims, Federal Trade Commission, December 1997.

“Fair trade” is the term used to describe food, produce, and herbs, that are produced in sustainable
ways. -
http://www.asaecenter.org/PublicationsResources/TenCoolListDetail.cfm?ItemNumber=27369

Issues

Several issues with related to CD #58 arose when considering the implementation at ALA. Some
of these issues are answered in this report; others will be addressed in future reports.
     1. What is a sweatshop?
     2. Does it refer only to items given to members?
     3. Are publications like Choice included?
     4. Does it include items being sold?
     5. How many of these vendors will/should be investigated? The last 2 used? The last 5?
     6. Is there any sense of what this policy will mean for future give away and promotional
         purposes?
     7. Who will be responsible for checking out new vendors, and how will this be done?
     8. What if this resolution causes units to incur additional costs?
     9. Do we want a Code of Conduct for Suppliers?


Sweatshop Policy Resources

The majority of industry, organizations, and companies base their policies on the International
Labor Organization’s guidelines, adopted in 1998.
 Department of Labor - http://www.dol.gov/esa/garment/index.htm
 Fair Labor Association - http://www.fairlabor.org/
       o FLA Obligations of Companies -
            http://www.fairlabor.org/images/FLAAffiliates/obligations%20of%20companies.pdf
       o FLA Workplace Code of Conduct.
 International Labor Organization Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
       - http://www.ilo.org/declaration/lang--en/index.htm.
 International Labor Rights Forum - http://www.laborrights.org/
 National Labor Committee – http://www.nlcnet.org
 SweatFree Communities - http://www.sweatfree.org/media_CPBJ-9-18-06
 United Nations Global Compact - http://www.unglobalcompact.org/




                                                                                                  5
University, City and State Actions
 Worker Rights Consortium investigates factories worldwide for workplace abuses and helps
   universities enforce codes of conduct on suppliers of collegiate goods -
   http://www.workersrights.org/
 Thirty-eight cities and seven states have laws prohibiting sweatshop purchasing primarily for
   apparel and textiles/
 Bangor, Maine’s Clean Clothes Ethical Purchasing Policy established criteria for purchasing
   “police and fire department uniforms, t-shirts, and soccer balls, apparel, footwear, textiles,
   and related products according to UN and ILO conventions (October 1999).”
 Pennsylvania is in sweatshop free consortium. Ohio and New York have also taken actions.
 Allegheny County, Pennsylvania has an ordinance -
   http://www.greenpolicy.us/index.php?title=Allegheny_County%2C_PA_Sweatshop_Ordinan
   ce

Future Actions
 Complete survey of ALA current vendors
 Provide results of survey and questions to ask future vendors to ALA Unit Purchasing
   contacts and Staff Support Services Purchasing Manager
 Continue to define how this resolution should impact products sold at ALA through divisions
   and major units such as Publishing, Graphics, and Conference Services.
 Request guidance from ALA Executive Office regarding the need or utility of a Purchasing
   Code of Conduct for Suppliers
 Investigate answers to the issues raised by ALA Unit Purchasing contacts
 Encourage ALA members to share sweatshop-free resources (contact Jenifer Grady at
   jgrady@ala.org)
 Conduct a similar survey annually

Responding Vendors

4imprint                           Davis Scott & Associates           MARCO
ArtCraft Promotions                Envirosax LLC                      Mrs. Prindables
Atlas Pen & Pencil Corp.           Furniward USA                      Newton Manufacturing Co
BabyGrams                          Go Promos                          On Time Promotions
Bag Masters                        Janway                             PMSI
Baudville                          Kid Stamps                         Rush King
CafePress                          LobsterGuy                         Smile Promotions
Candy Warehouse                    M.O. Graphics                      Vernon Company
Cardinal Specialties               Marathon Sportswear                envirotote




Respectfully submitted,
Jenifer Grady, MSLS, MBA, CAE
Director, American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA-APA) on behalf
of the American Library Association (ALA)




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