China Labor Watch: The Failure of Target's Audit System in its Chinese Supplier Factories

Sep 29, 2011, 12:01 ET from China Labor Watch

NEW YORK, Sept. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A recent investigation conducted by China Labor Watch (CLW) has uncovered numerous labor violations at the Rushan Alice Garments Company, LTD., a supplier factory of the American retailing company Target. The factory, located in Weihai, Shandong province, was audited by CLW investigators in August, 2011. In the investigation, CLW discovered numerous violations of the Chinese labor laws and regulations and Target's Standards of Vendor Engagement. Violations discovered include excessive work and overtime hours, limited days off, very low piece-rate wage, stressful working conditions for teenagers, and lack of a social security plan.

After ardently denying CLW's investigation results of the Rushan Alice factory (Target claimed CLW audited a different factory with no connection to Target), Target steadfastly declared that the labor conditions in the factory generally complied with the Chinese labor laws and regulations and Target's Standards of Vendor Engagement.

China Labor Watch published the report on Rushan Alice's working conditions, including evidentiary photos and Target's own investigation results. CLW urges that Target actively work together with the Rushan Alice factory to advance its labor conditions in order to effectively protect the rights of its workers.

Below is a summary of the facts we found in the investigation.

  • Teenage workers labor under the same conditions as regular adult workers.
  • Workers are not provided with a duplicate copy of the labor contract for their own records.
  • Workers are not provided with any explanation in regard to its content or given the opportunity to more closely examine the contract.
  • The factory currently runs on a 10 hours per day, 28 days per month work schedule. When the factory receives multiple production orders, workers are often required to work 30 days per month without any days off.
  • Workers' salaries are calculated according to a piece-rate wage system. Workers receive no overtime wages. The average hourly wage is only $ 0.89/hour.
  • No matter if a worker takes sick, maternity, or vacation leave, there is no pay.
  • The factory does not provide workers with the option of purchasing any sort of insurance or social security plan.
  • The investigator found an "outsource contract" in the factory and eye-witnessed the workers put labels on the outsourced products and put them into a Target's box together with the factory's products.

SOURCE China Labor Watch