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American Labor Unions Among Signatories Of Petition Calling On Brands To End Use Of Uighur Forced Labor

American Labor Unions Among Signatories Of Petition Calling On Brands To End Use Of Uighur Forced Labor

American labor unions are among the more than 180 groups that have called on major apparel brands to end the use of forced Uighur labor in Xinjiang, China.

More than 100 civil society organizations and labor unions joined 72 Uighur rights groups in urging brands to cut ties with suppliers that use materials produced in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR), where numerous reports have revealed Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are being forced to work in factories, often also while being indoctrinated with ideological and behavioral reeducation.

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The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) is one of the groups that endorsed the petition. The organization is the largest federation of unions in the U.S., representing more than 12 members. Among AFL-CIO’s executive council members is UNITE HERE, one of the U.S.’s largest labor unions that represents workers in the textile industry, among others. 

Chinese shoppers wait in line to enter the newly opened H&M store, the first in mainland China, on April 13, 2007 in Shanghai, China. Australian pop singer Kylie Minogue attended the launch. (Photo by Cancan Chu/Getty Images)

Workers United, a union also representing American workers in the textile industry, doesn’t appear to be represented by the federation, and did not respond to a request for comment about the union’s thoughts on the reported use by many brands of Uighur forced labor.

Dozens of international organizations endorsed the petition, many of which are based in the U.S. Human Rights Watch, Public Citizen, Religious Freedom Institute, US Tibet Committee, Uyghur Academy America, and Worker Rights Consortium are among the U.S. based human rights and civil society groups included in the petition.

This photo taken on June 2, 2019 shows buildings at the Artux City Vocational Skills Education Training Service Center, believed to be a re-education camp where mostly Muslim ethnic minorities are detained, north of Kashgar in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region. (GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images)

The groups are seeking brand commitments to cut all ties with suppliers implicated in using forced labor in their supply chains within 12 months of the request, which was published July 23. Nearly every brand listed on the petition, which included popular clothing companies like H&M and Victoria’s Secret, denied using forced labor in Xinjiang in comments to the Daily Caller. 

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