Work in San Francisco? No Sweat

Beginning in December 2005, the city of San Francisco will require all contractors to guarantee that any goods they supply are produced without “sweatshop” labor. Other cities, including Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Albuquerque, have passed similar laws, but San Francisco's is the most stringent so far.

The new ordinance has a rigorous definition of fair labor practices and features an initial enforcement budget of $100,000. Further, the law calls for independent monitoring to ensure impartial enforcement. The legislation includes provisions against child, slave, and foreign convict labor, and requires that workers get at least minimum wage, safe working conditions, and the right to unionize.

The law also mandates a non-discriminatory work environment and requires contractors to guarantee their workers the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining.

The legislation, which was co-sponsored by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Tom Ammiano, is to be phased-in gradually, beginning with garments and textiles and eventually extending to all products supplied to the city by contractors.