A group of business leaders are urging the United States government to boost the supply of clothes for garment workers, as the industry struggles to meet soaring demand and as many garment workers die from working conditions.
The call comes as President Donald Trump is weighing the next steps to rein in rising production and employment in the apparel industry, which has been a growing concern for the garment companies.
The groups says it is time to help workers, including those in garment processing facilities, who have faced high health and safety issues and are now living in poverty, with clothing.
“The industry is not only in a precarious situation but we are also seeing a rise in the number of garment workers dying from working under dangerous conditions,” said Karen Wootton, a senior fellow at the nonprofit organization Oxfam.
Wootton said the group was asking the U.S. government to provide more support to help improve the supply chain for clothing that is exported to the U, where prices are high.
“As the garment supply chain grows, we can expect increased health risks to our workers and our suppliers, and we are especially concerned about garment workers in garment factories, who are working under extremely dangerous conditions in extremely dangerous jobs,” she said.
Wooton said she’s concerned that the industry is underfunded.
The United Nations estimates that the garment and apparel industries lost $14 billion last year, and she said the government needs to step up to the plate.
“In the United Kingdom, the UK government was responsible for $6 billion of the total $19 billion,” she explained.
“So that’s not going to happen with the U.”
Wootson said the demand for clothing is expected to rise by about 40% this year.
“There are going to be millions of garments in the marketplace.
And we don’t have enough clothing for that,” she added.
The group says it’s also concerned that some companies are making profit off the production of clothing without paying workers the same wages.
“We have a very real concern about the lack of respect for the human rights of garment production workers,” Wootson explained.
A number of states have already taken steps to address the garment problem, including California, New York, and the District of Columbia.
The U.N. is also pushing for the U to increase the minimum wage.
In addition to providing clothing, the groups also advocates for workers’ rights, including paid sick days, safety measures and health insurance coverage.
“Our industry is an incredibly important part of our economy,” said Mark Siegel, co-founder and CEO of the Alliance for Worker Safety, an industry association.
“The workers are the backbone of our industry and their safety is the backbone to our economy.”