The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of MichiganThe Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan

Alan Deardorff quoted in Huffington Post article, "Major American Brands Silent on Alleged Rights Abuses at Overseas Factories"

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Alan Deardorff was quoted in a Huffington Post article on issues surrounding the response of American corporations to alleged human rights abuses that were reported in a factory in Jordan a month ago.

According to a report by the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights, workers in this factory, which produces clothing for Target, Kohl's, Macy's, Walmart, and Hanes, have been forced to work excessive hours, beaten, and underpaid, and their living quarters have been unsanitary and without heat or hot water. In addition, female workers at the Classic Brands factory complex have been the objects of widespread sexual abuse - the actions of a specific manager, who repeatedly raped female employees, led to a strike last year, and although he was removed from the complex, he was not fired or publicly disciplined. The corporations involved have remained quiet on the issue.

Amid concerns over the extent of abuse in Jordanian factories, Deardorff insisted that conditions in the Classic Brands complex are exceptional and extreme. "The multinational companies that get involved with these agreements are very worried about the reputational effects of this sort of thing happening," he told the Huffington Post. "By in large, workers in developing countries are made better off by outsourcing." He added that many of the abused workers are migrants from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Egypt, who fall into grey areas in worker rights agreements because they are not Jordanian nationals.

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