Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) has introduced new legislation to improve working conditions and labor standards both domestically and overseas by preventing the import of goods that use child labor, slave labor, or forced labor.
"The United States must be a leader in elevating labor standards around the world. As a nation, it's critical that we stand united against exploitative labor practices in any country," said Rep. Kind. "Growing up in a union household in La Crosse, I know how crucial it is to have rules in place that protect workers. Setting high labor standards in the U.S. will help raise standards for everyone."
"The United States should adopt a zero tolerance policy when it comes to goods produced by children, slaves, indentured servants, and prisoners," said Joe Hansen, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), who began his career as a meat cutter in Milwaukee and is one of the nation's leading champions for workers. "We have a moral obligation to lead by example and ensure all of our laws adhere to workers' rights and human rights. Congressman Kind's bill would close the consumptive demand loophole and let the world know we will not do business with those who abuse and exploit others."
The bill, H.R. 5247, would amend the Tariff Act of 1930 to prohibit the importation of goods made with labor classified as convict labor, forced labor, or indentured labor. It contains reporting requirements to ensure accountability. Every year, it will require that the Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection submit a report on compliance that includes information on the number of instances in which merchandise was denied entry during the one-year period preceding the submission of the report, and a description of the merchandise denied entry.
A bipartisan companion bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and former Finance Chair Max Baucus (D-MT).