Skip to main content
Resolutions & Amendments

34th International Convention - Philadelphia (2000)

Truth in Manufacturing

Resolution No. 68
34th International Convention
June 26 - 30, 2000
Philadelphia, PA


Clothing valued at more than $800 million was shipped into the United States duty free last year from the U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Island's (CNMI) capital, Saipan. It went to U.S. clothiers like The Gap, Gear, Sears, J.C. Penney, Ralph Lauren, The Limited, Tommy Hilfiger, Gymboree, Chadwicks of Boston, Mervyn's, Oshkosh B'Gosh, Levi Strauss & Co., May Co. department stores; and others; and


This clothing was labeled "Made in the USA", the phrase widely accepted as warranting products free of the abuses associated with Third World sweatshops; and


The factories are staffed by "guest workers" brought from China, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka after they pay thousands of dollars to job brokers. The 35,000 "guest workers" outnumber the 27,000 U.S. citizen residents of the CNMI; and


These "guest workers" work for the CNMI's minimum wage that is significantly less than the U.S. minimum wage, which applies in all U.S. territories except the CNMI and American Samoa; and


These workers live and eat in barracks provided by the factories, often behind razor wire fences. The companies deduct from their pay as much as $200 a month for room and board; and


That AFSCME work with Congress to ensure that the phrase "Made in the USA" on a product once more means that the product was made by workers who earn a living wage for a day's work and are free to organize.



Allen Whitehead, President and Delegate 
Cathy Weldon, Secretary and Delegate 
AFSCME Local 443, Council 28