Responding to the ethical imperative to respect and protect the basic rights of working men and women, and noting the experience of our immigrant forebears as sweatshop laborers, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) reaffirms its commitment to safe, decent, secure working conditions and to the campaign to eliminate sweatshops and end exploitative child labor. The organized Jewish community has long been involved in these efforts and has consistently supported the basic right of working men and women to improve their working conditions. Issues of workers’ rights are fundamental to our beliefs. As the Torah states unequivocally, “You shall not abuse a needy and destitute worker, whether a fellow countryman or a stranger in one of the communities of your land” (Deuteronomy 24:14). We strive to ensure that all workers, regardless of industry, regardless of rank, are treated with dignity and fairness.

Unfortunately, serious abuses persist in the United States and round the world. Workers in some places, including children, are still forced to labor in unsafe conditions. In many countries, children work in near slavery, for no pay, and as virtual prisoners in factories. The JCPA welcomes efforts by some industries and individual business organizations to monitor child labor and sweatshop violations in the manufacture of the products they sell. However, unless they provide for independent third party monitors that conduct unannounced inspections of manufacturing facilities, there is no assurance that monitoring will succeed in exposing these abuses.

In light of continuing sweatshop and child labor abuses, the JCPA therefore resolves to:

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