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Knitting / Apparel

DOL Grants $2 Million For Better Work Nicaragua

The U.S. Department of Labor's (DOL's) Bureau of International Labor Affairs has awarded $2 million to the International Labor Organization (ILO) to implement a Better Work program in Nicaragua.

Developed by the ILO and the International Finance Corp., Better Work aims to improve labor conditions within global supply chains, with an emphasis on protecting workers' rights and increasing businesses' competitiveness.

"Better Work is a highly successful strategy that was first developed in Cambodia 10 years ago," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. "Its elements are worth replicating in other countries as a means of protecting workers' rights while promoting development. Nicaragua joins those countries that embrace what is considered a gold standard for the respect of labor rights in the garment sector."

The program will target labor standards compliance by Nicaragua's apparel makers. The country is the 13th-largest supplier of apparel
products to the United States, reports the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), Arlington, Va.

"This grant will not only help improve the lives of garment workers in Nicaragua but will, in turn, help create jobs for U.S. workers in the U.S. textile and apparel industry," said Steve Lamar, executive vice president, AAFA.

The program has received support from major brands such as Columbia Sportswear, Fishman & Tobin, Gap Inc., Gildan Activewear Inc., Levi Strauss & Co., Sears Corp., Target Corp., Walmart and VF Corp.

November/December 2010