The United States government has imposed a new requirement on garment-processing companies to test whether they are complying with the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires that companies that make garments for human consumption to offer free, public access to the factories where they work.
The Fair Labor Department said Tuesday that it has issued a new guidance requiring companies to conduct their own garment-factory inspection to ensure that their factories are not being exploited by unscrupulous labor suppliers.
The guidelines are in response to a complaint by the UAW and the UCLU, the UMWA union that represents garment-manufacturing workers in the United States.
The new requirement requires manufacturers to test if their factories meet the requirements of the law and also to offer public access at least once a week to those factories where the inspection is conducted.
The U.s. government said in a statement that the requirements are intended to help ensure that manufacturers “are not being used for cheap labor.”
“While the government believes that the Fair Labor Standard Act and other standards are a vital safeguard against exploitation, the government is also mindful that manufacturers may have an incentive to avoid paying workers a living wage,” the statement said.
“We are working to ensure this happens and to improve labor-management practices that make it harder for workers to earn a living.”
The government said that the factories in question have to comply with a wide range of laws, including minimum wage laws, federal and state occupational safety and health rules, health and safety regulations, and federal procurement and compliance requirements.
The guidance came after a government investigation into the Ulam Group, a subsidiary of the Ucla Group, revealed that the company had violated several U. of T. and the Fair Labour Standards Act requirements.
Ulam was found to have failed to provide paid sick leave to its workers and failed to properly record the number of sick days each worker had taken.
The Department of Labor has also issued a warning letter to Ulam, ordering the company to cease and desist from violations of the Fair Work and Hour Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
Ulim, the statement added, is also required to provide all of its U. workers with a written, signed contract outlining the terms of employment, and to provide written notice of the rights and responsibilities of workers under these laws.
The federal government said it is also investigating Ulam’s business operations and will take appropriate action against any company that fails to meet these requirements.
“While this new guidance is a positive step in addressing this troubling situation, it does not eliminate the potential for exploitation, exploitation of workers, or wage theft,” the UofT government said.
“This is why we continue to push for the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that will bring these problems to an end,” U.T. said in its statement.
“The North American Fair Trade Agreement is a critical piece of the solution.”