Commissioners will be the ones to break a sweat Monday as labor leaders, human-rights advocates and sweatshop workers turn up the heat on City Hall by rallying for an ordinance to champion workers' rights.
Demand for a “sweat-free” bill comes in response to the recent release of an analysis by the Portland Sweatfree Campaign documenting that the City of Portland is buying goods from companies known to have been supplied by subcontractors accused of labor and human-rights abuses. The new ordinance would ensure textiles and other products purchased by the city are produced under safe and humane working conditions.
Speakers at the rally will include Beatriz (Betty) Fuentes, president of the Sintrasplendor Union, who led the fight to improve working conditions
at Sintrasplendor flowers, a Dole-owned cut flower plantation in Colombia that ships 80 percent of its flowers to Wal-Mart; Kotagarahalli Jayaram, an organizer for GATWU (Garment and Textile Workers' Union) who worked to improve the wages of workers who make clothing for Wal-Mart in Bangalore, India; Dan Gardner, Oregon's labor commissioner; and Ed Hall, VP of Portland Firefighters Association.
Organizers, who are calling this the No Sweat, Portland! campaign, expect it be a “peaceful, family-friendly” event with a turnout of “around 50 to 100 people,” according to spokeswoman Deborah Schwartz.
The No Sweat, Portland! Campaign rally will be held Monday, Feb. 19 from noon to 1 pm in front of Portland City Hall (1211 SW 4th Ave.).