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Ordinance Would Ban City Uniforms From Being Made In Sweathshops

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Aldermen and advocates have introduced an ordinance to ensure that uniforms for City of Chicago employees are not produced in sweatshops, reports WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore.

Backers of this ordinance admit they don't know if there's a problem, but fashion designer Jamie Hayes says sweatshops where workers are exploited in places like Bangladesh and Cambodia are common. The ordinance would require disclosure of where police, fire and other uniforms are made. The companies would also have to declare that the factories were not sweatshops.

Ordinance Would Ban City Uniforms From Being Made In Sweathshops

"Unless we the citizens of Chicago take control of where are tax dollars are spent and insist on sweatshop-free goods, U.S.-based suppliers and brands can continue to shirk responsibility and hide behind an ever more complex and opaque supply chain," said Hayes.

Is there a suspicion that city uniforms come from sweatshops? Katherine Bissell-Cordova, director of Chicago Fair Trade, says, not exactly. She says officials have no way of knowing exactly where the clothes are made, or how. Under the ordinance, they would know. She says it's about transparency.

Alderman Ameya Pawar introduced the ordinance at the latest meeting. Mayor Emanuel is backing the ordinance as well.

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