Late last year, the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) complied its list of inductees for the 2010 Sweatshop Hall of Shame. Sadly, a favorite department store, Kohl's, made the list. Kohl's was specifically awarded this dubious honor for allowing poor labor practices at its linen supplier, Menderes Tekstil, in Turkey.
Four people have died at the factory, and overall conditions, wages and life for its workers continue to be poor. Though the ILRF and the Clean Clothes Coaltion (CCC) have appealed to Kohl's, asking the company to address conditions at Menderes Tekstil, they have have refused. Kohl's remains elusive, refusing to own the problem and continuing to sell "dirty" bed sheets.
Let's see if we, the consumers who keep Kohl's in business, can get the company to listen. Tell Kohl's CEO Kevin Mansell to review, acknowledge and address unsafe and unfair factory conditions for workers at its linen supplier, Menderes Tekstil.
Photo credit: hattiesburgmemory
While I enjoy shopping at Kohl's stores and respect such charitable company actions as the Kohl's Cares for Kids program, I do not support the use of sweatshops in your supply chain. Claiming to care for both customers and the youth community, while allowing brutal factory conditions to persist for workers in Turkey seems inconsistent, at best.
As a customer with purchasing power, I urge you to acknowledge and address the problems at Menderes Tekstil. By working with such organizations as the International Labor Rights Forum, the Clean Clothes Coalition and local labor unions, you can negotiate with management at Menderes Tekstil to improve and even save the lives of these factory employees.
I hope that you will take this important step to explore and improve occupational health and safety standards, as well as the generally exploitative labor practices, at Menderes Tekstil. In doing so, Kohl's can prove itself to be a responsible company at every level of the supply chain and worthy of my consumer support.