Thursday, June 13, 2013

Donated URL to Become Cornerstone For Free Online Labor Library

Our last post briefly discussed the Fear Wear Foundation (FWF) and Jeffrey Tognetti's willingness to donate a website domain to help their cause. But that post barely scratched the surface in terms of discussing the how and why behind the operations of the FWF. Today, we're going to change that.

The FWF's influence is much, much greater than what one might suspect when first learning about the nonprofit; in fact, FWF brand-approved items are sold in 20,000 shops worldwide! Learn more about the company and the complexities that it deals with in this short video:

Usually when updating this blog we like to include a testimonial from the people who have been helped by an organization's work; in this case, it seems that no testimony has been made public about the work the FWF does and how it has helped people. But then, given the powerful influence of the company worldwide, perhaps no testimony is needed to show how much the organization has improved labor conditions in the factories that the nonprofit's members use to make their clothing. As the video summarized, the FWF strives to create a world where the clothing the public purchases is all 100% fair – made by adults working reasonable hours in safe conditions for a livable wage, in a job they were not coerced into taking. The nonprofit also relies heavily on problem-solving abilities, encouraging brands that employ factories where complaints are filed to work with the factory to fix the problem; this ensures that the workers, the victims in this situation, do not lose their only source of income due to a factory shutting down.

Just looking at the FWF Code of Labour Practices should show exactly how much good the nonprofit is doing. Based on the conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the FWF fights to ensure that all employees in textile factories:
  • Choose their employment freely and without coercion
  • Experience no discrimination in employment or practice
  • Are not forced to condone child labor
  • Have the right to collectively bargain
  • Are paid of a living wage
  • Are not forced to work excessive overtime for little pay
  • Can go to work in safe and healthy working conditions
  • Enter a legally-binding employment relationship in general
Going forward, the FWF is looking to expand its already extensive projects and resources. Using the URL Tognetti donated to it, the nonprofit will create an online library of information that will accompany the WellMade project. This project that will provide training to employees in the European apparel industry on pragmatic things they can do in their day-to-day work that support better working conditions in clothing factories. These free training sessions will be made available at trade fairs and other professional events across Europe over the next three years.

Information that will accompany these training sessions on the actual website part of this project will include the following:
  • New and existing documents, films, and other materials that have been developed by FWF and other project partners, like the Ethical Trading Initiative and Dutch trade union CNV
  • Information targeted at different kinds of employees, like designers or supply chain managers
  • Background information on common problems in the industry (i.e. excessive overtime, unsafe working conditions, etc.)
  • Examples and suggestions of actions employees can take that reduce the risk of problems in factories
Best of all, the FWF and European Commission have it so that this website will be available free of charge – no membership in the FWF will be required for those looking to use the website.

The FWF hopes that their new online library, made possible by the funding provided by the European Commission and the generosity of URL donator Jeff Tognetti, will begin to go live in early July this year.

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