By Ecotextile News
More than 100 US brands, manufacturers, workers' rights groups, educational institutions and civil society groups have now given their backing to the Fashion Accountability and Building Real Institutional Change (FABRIC) Act.
The FABRIC Act would outlaw piece-rate pay for garment workers and encourage the fashion industry to move production back to the US. It would would also make fashion brands and retailers jointly liable - with their suppliers - for value chain wage violations.
Brands expressing their support for the proposed legislation - introduced into the US Congress by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand - include Everlane, Doen, Mate the Label, Christy Dawn and Outerknown.
Remake, the garment workers' rights organisation which helped draw up the proposals, said it hoped the FABRIC Act would transform the industry in a similar way to that achieved by the PayUp campaign during the COVID pandemic and the Bangladesh Accord following the Rana Plaza disaster.
Ayesha Barenblat, CEO of the Remake, said: “The FABRIC Act is an opportunity to move beyond lip service to truly invest in American manufacturing and jobs with dignity.
“This bill has garnered wide support from businesses, labour and citizens alike. We call on senators and congress from both sides of the aisle to support the FABRIC Act for American manufacturing to thrive.”
The FABRIC Act is the first federal bill to address the needs of garment workers in the US. It would extend workers' rights in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and California’s recent SB62 garment worker protection bill to include:
new requirements to hold fashion companies jointly accountable, alongside manufacturers, for workplace wage violations
eliminating piece rate pay in the garment industry until the minimum wage is met through an hourly rate
the establishment of a nationwide garment industry registry to promote transparency and hold bad actors accountable
The act would also establish a US$40 million 'Domestic Garment Manufacturing Support Program' and a 30 per cent tax credit to help garment manufacturers with the costs of moving operations to the US.
In May, it was cautiously welcomed by two major industry bodies, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA).
They released a joint statement in which they welcomed the reshoring incentives but opposed the proposals to make companies responsible for workers' pay in their supply chains.