SweatFree Communities International Conference 2006

Starting Date: 04-07-2006
Ending Date: 04-09-2006

Minneapolis, Minnesota
United States
Our third annual gathering is a place for anti-sweatshop activists to
share experiences, learn vital organizing skills, and build joint
strategy. If you are campaigning for sweatshop-free government or
religious purchasing or if you are interested in learning more and
getting active in the movement, this gathering is not to be missed!

There are many exciting recent advances in the sweatfree movement. In
the United States a few cities have put real teeth in sweatfree
procurement policies with provisions and funding for independent
monitoring of supplier factories. We are also taking the first steps
toward city and state consolidation of purchasing power and
collaboration in the enforcement of policies. In Canada, nine Catholic
school boards in the province of Ontario have agreed to pool their
resources to monitor and investigate supplier factories. In Europe,
increasing numbers of cities in the Netherlands, Belgium, France,
Germany, Sweden, Spain and elsewhere are adopting sweatfree procurement
resolutions with tougher verification standards. There is real power in
government procurement that we can control democratically. Yet, our
movement is not yet as strong as it needs to be to win the big battles
against sweatshop exploitation and create worker-friendly rules for the
global economy.

Globally workers and their advocates are finding creative ways to meet
the challenges of plant closings and repression exacerbated by last
year’s phase out of the Multi-Fiber Agreement. Their strategies include
community-based education and organizing, worker-led monitoring
committees, union organizing, and worker ownership and control of
production. What does international solidarity look and feel like in the
context of these worker struggles? What is the role of sweatfree
procurement in supporting worker struggles in different parts of the
world, in different industries, and in the fields?

Bringing together sweatfree campaigns, fair trade organizations,
producers, unions, and worker advocacy organizations in the United
States, Canada, Europe, Latin America and China, the SweatFree
Communities International Conference is an opportunity to make
connections and build a stronger international movement for worker
justice. Beyond the core workshops that introduce participants to
movement history and sweatfree government procurement campaign strategy,
there will be exchanges with worker organizers and U.S. immigrant
workers; discussion forums on sweatfree marketing strategies and on
independent monitoring and policy enforcement; workshops on local, fair
trade, and organic procurement, and much more.

We are excited to host this event with the Resource Center of the
Americas. Among its human rights and economic justice programs, the
Resource Center’s sweatfree campaigns have resulted in sweatfree
policies in the school district and city of Minneapolis. Its youth
organizer program is planning the youth section of the conference. A
workshop by its worker rights center will link global impacts of
sweatshops to local immigrant worker struggles. Latin American music and
food at the conference reflects the Resource Center's cross-cultural

Other conference highlights include a screening of Maquilapolis – City
of Factories, a new film by and about maquila workers in Tijuana,
Mexico, who will be present to lead discussion. Concurrent with the
conference will also be an art exhibit with paintings of garment workers
from 22 countries by Washington State artist Janet Essley.

Register online or download registration materials at www.sweatfree.org.
Feel free to contact us with any questions at 413-586-0974 or
Geographical Scope: National


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