UC holds a contract with Gildan Activewear, Inc., a Canadian manufacturer of branded clothing: most notably, t-shirts. The combination of extremely low wages and advanced technology has allowed Gildan to lower its price per shirt to below that of Chinese manufacturers.
Gildan has faced a multitude of allegations of labor rights violations, most notably involving the Haitian factory Genesis, S.A. The factory has been accused of being the most serious offender in a campaign of “retaliatory dismissals” targeted at leaders of a labor rights and union organizing effort in Port-au-Prince.
“Stealing from the Poor: Wage Theft in the Haitian Apparel Industry” is a report highlighting the severity of the company’s low wages- despite being heavily subsidized by the US government with earthquake recovery aid. Haitian apparel workers receive the lowest wages in the hemisphere, and face some of the harshest working conditions anywhere in the global apparel industry.
Sweatshops are extremely common in the supply chain, making for a horribly complex issue. However, if these labor standards are not permitted in the US, it is unethical to support them abroad. UC should end its contract with Gildan to remove its financial support of exploitation.
Gildan supplies and distributes socks to retail companies such as Gold Toe Brands, Under Armour, and New Balance. The company has approximately 42,000 employees worldwide, and owns and operates manufacturing facilities in Honduras and the Caribbean.