As the past four months have shown us, COVID-19’s has ravaged garment makers around the globe with brands cancelling already-completed orders en masse. Remake’s #PayUp campaign has seen many victories, including a promise from 18 brands to pay for orders cancelled and paused as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. The #PayUp campaign has unlocked an estimated $1 billion dollars in Bangladesh and an estimated $15 billion globally, accounting for approximately one-third of the $40 billion worth of wages owed to garment workers at the start of COVID-19. However, there is still more work to be done.
Brands like Gap, Primark, Arcadia, and Urban Outfitters are still refusing to #PayUp, leaving millions of mostly women garment makers on the brink of starvation with no access to healthcare, savings, or housing security. We’ve seen shareholder payouts occur while workers go unpaid, and we also know that certain brands are deleting #PayUp comments on their social media accounts as a way to try and shut down the conversation.
So how can you help garment makers right now?
- SIGN OUR PETITION: Over 200,000+ people have signed the #PayUp petition. Brands are watching. If you’ve already signed the #PayUp petition, please continue to share it with your network.
- TAG BRANDS & LEAVE COMMENTS: Leave #PayUp comments on the social media pages of the following brands: Arcadia, Bestseller, C&A, Edinburgh Woolen Mill, Fashion Nova, Forever 21, Gap, JCPenney, Kohl’s, Li & Fung/Global Brands Group, Mothercare, Primark, Ross Stores, Sears, The Children’s Place, URBN (Urban Outfitters, Free People, Anthropologie), Walmart/Asda/George. If you publish a story on #PayUp on your own social media account, tag these brands on your post.
- DONATE DIRECTLY TO GARMENT WORKERS: Donate to one or more of the following funds to help provide direct relief to garment makers.
1) SRI LANKA: The Stand Up Movement Direct Fund
Laid off by factories without due compensation, no aid from local government, having only one meal per day, foraging jackfruit as sustenance, feeding children tea instead of milk, not enough money to feed themselves let alone paying for rent — This is the reality that Sri Lankan garment makers are living in and suffering from RIGHT NOW. This is also the reality for most garment makers in the global south, including Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and beyond.
2) BANGLADESH: Awaj Foundation Direct Relief Fund
The global pandemic has dealt immense damage to the country of Bangladesh, where many of these garment workers and factories are based. All contributions will go into an emergency worker fund that will provide cash disbursements to make sure basic needs for food and shelter are met. Awaj Foundation will also continue to provide some health services and will connect workers with other resources when they need more intensive help.
3) LOS ANGELES: Garment Worker Center Emergency Relief Fund
Garment workers in Los Angeles are often not eligible for unemployment benefits and the underground nature of the industry, such as “off the books” work, makes applying for paid family leave or disability insurance uniquely challenging for this workforce.