Today’s New York Times has a fascinating front-page article on Li and Fung, a apparel industry sourcing and logistics firm that is described by the AFL-CIO’s international affairs director is a key player in the industry’s race-to-the-bottom labor practices. The article mentions Li & Fung’s connection to at least one campaign in Indonesia, a union busting case at the PT Mulia factory in Jakarta, which I had previously posted about.
Here is the article’s explanation of Li & Fung’s link to Indonesia:
In 2007, more than a dozen garment workers at the PT. Mulia Knitting Factory in Jakarta, Indonesia, who were making clothes for Polo Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger were fired, allegedly for trying to form a union — the kind of dismissal that violates Indonesian law. Li & Fung investigated and did not find any violations of workers’ rights, a spokeswoman said.
But labor advocates found that Li & Fung did not interview any of the dismissed workers and conducted all employee interviews in the factory, often with managers present. In explaining why it would not sever ties to the factory or push for reforms, Tommy Hilfiger cited the Li & Fung findings.
“Li & Fung claims to be monitoring factory conditions, but they don’t publicly release their investigation reports or even the full list of the factories they use, so it’s impossible for independent organizations to assess the effectiveness of their monitoring,” said Tim Connor, a former labor rights advocacy coordinator for Oxfam.