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Designer styles fashioned on slave labour.

(VANCOUVER) Teams of activists in Vanccouver marked International Women's Day this year by attaching new and improved garment tags on Liz Claiborne designs in Eaton's and The Bay to bolster awareness of garment workers' working conditions.

Guerilla Media and MediAttaq of Montreal launched the joint campaign with a humourous and direct attack against the exploitation of female garment workers in Canada and abroad. The new garment tags encourage companies to "WASH hands of all Canadian garment factories and RINSE out unionized workers, WRING more work out of girls in new maquiladoras factories and SQUEEZE their wages down, and FLUFF up executive salaries."

"We targetted Liz Claiborne because they claim to care about the conditions their workers face," says GM spokesperson Sue Donym. CBC's Fifth Estate reported that Claiborne's Central American suppliers employ girls under 17, conduct mandatory pregnancy tests and subject employees to violent working conditions. Claiborne contractors pay as little as 50 cents an hour for women who work 12 to 15 hour days, six days a week.

"Along with companies exploiting workers in third world countries, there are plenty of third-worldesque labour abuses right here in Canada." says Donym. Women contracted by clothing manufacturers to sew at home are almost always paid below minimum wage, receive no benefits and work longer hours than allowed if the women worked in the factory.

The Whitewashing campaign follows similar campaigns launched to raise awareness of garment worker conditions who provide clothing sold in GAP stores and anti-child labour campaigns launched against India.

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Date:Jun 22, 1996
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