Be the Change: Here’s why we joined the #Payup campaign…and you should too
A year ago, at the very beginning of the pandemic, many fashion brands including Nike, the Gap and H&M made the decision to cancel orders to their factories. This put the garment workers’ livelihoods in danger in the middle of a worldwide crisis when most people were on lockdown. Not only did the brands cancel new orders, more importantly they refused to pay for work that was already completed –while the company executives continued to get paid as normal.. This is where the #PayUp campaign stemmed from.
Brands are continuing to ask for extreme discounts which has led to the underpaying of garment workers. Pushing them into unlivable conditions where they are going hungry and can’t provide for their families. The fashion industry has promised to do better but we aren’t seeing any changes. In fact, it’s getting worse.
We had the opportunity to listen in on what’s been going on since then on the #PayUp webinar led by Aja Barber with the following key note speakers and activists involved in this campaign:
Zaki Saleemi, Vice President of Crescent Bahuman, Pakistan’s first vertically integrated denim facility, board of Trustees, Transformers Foundation, a coalition advancing ethical and sustainable practices in the denim industry
Khalid Mahmood, Director, Labour Education Foundation, a worker rights NGO in Pakistan
Scott Nova, Executive Director of the Worker Rights Consortium, which oversees the Covid-19 fashion tracker
They led a fantastic discussion reflecting on the past year and what can and is being done to drive real change and hold brands accountable. COVID-19 definitely turned the world upside down and forced people to take a hard look at the impact of it on the fashion industry in particular. From listening to this panel, No Kill learned 3 major things that COVID-19 made even more apparent about the broken fashion industry.
Brands talk about and “support” feminism and women empowerment but aren’t protecting or paying their garment workers which consists mostly of females. For example a worker at an H&M factory was raped. Another worker at a Kate Spade factory posted something bad about the brand on Facebook and was put in jail because of it. There is no protection or support for them and all of this is happening while they are still not being paid.
Workers have no voice. When they do speak up, they’re put in jail. When they protest or refuse to work, they’re continued to not be paid even more. We all need to take action and support these workers. We need to be their voice.
While the rest of the world was sheltering in place and staying safe in their homes, garment workers overseas were still pushing out product. They were making the masks to keep you safe and making the sweatpants and sweatshirts to keep you cozy at home, but still weren’t paid for it.
The era of talk versus action is over. Action needs to be taken. Binding agreements and codes of conduct need to be written. The rest of the world needs to be the voice for the garment workers.
This week Remake has created a week of action with an action to do every day. No Kill Magazine supports this and will join in these actions and we hope you join us as well. BELOW are the actionable steps from Remake.
MONDAY – Educate Yourself
You can dive deeper into the #ShareYourProfits campaign on the PayUp Fashion website. (See Action 2: Keep Workers Safe)
Cliff Notes Version: They’ve created a cheat sheet with info on both campaigns, FAQs, facts, and social media examples. Once you feel comfortable enough with the info, educate your own communities.
Knowledge is power!
TUESDAY – Sign the PayUp Fashion Petition
Now that you’re well-versed on both campaigns, we’d love for you to sign the petition. If you’ve already signed it, please share it with your friends, fam, classmates, coworkers, and communities. Let’s break 10,000 signatures this week!
Why? Because the original #PayUp campaign proved that large amounts of signatures can lead to monumental change. Last year, we held brands accountable to pay for their orders and we unlocked $22 billion for garment suppliers — signatures did that — you did that.
It’s also important to point out that each time someone signs the PayUp Fashion petition, that one signature emails over 200 brand executives from the 40 brands we’re campaigning against, demanding attention and demonstrating the urgency for change within the fashion industry to those who are responsible for it.
WEDNESDAY – Use Your Voice
On Wednesday, head to social media to tag these 12 brands to #ShareYourProfits.
Why these brands? These brands are among the world’s largest apparel retailers, headed by billionaire founders and CEOs whose wealth increased during the pandemic. All the brands listed have turned a profit during the pandemic, proving that they can help provide a safety net for their garment workers, rather than abandoning responsibility.
Feel free to create social assets from their amazing cheat sheet. However, you can also follow Remake throughout the week on Instagram, as they’ll be featuring one brand and billionaire to target each day. Watch for their posts during the late afternoon PT/ early evening ET.
All you have to do is tag the brand under the post with hashtag #ShareYourProfits.
THURSDAY – Make a Donation
With 77% of garment workers reporting that they or a member of their families have gone hungry since the start of the pandemic, there’s no time to waste in getting them direct relief — so they created a GoFundMe.
Last year, they were able to raise approximately $150k for garment workers worldwide, and they’d like to do that again this year.
100% of all donations will go directly to providing workers with emergency food and medical relief through the Stand Up Movement in Sri Lanka, AWAJ Foundation in Bangladesh, and the Garment Worker Center in LA.
And if you can’t donate, please do share the GoFundMe among your friends, family, and community. Creating awareness and sharing information is a key way to take action.
Alternatively, you can also choose to donate to Remake as well.
FRIDAY – Show Solidarity
Take a pic of yourself with the #PayHer sign and post it to social media with one of the following captions to help create awareness:
I stand with the 70 MILLION garment workers worldwide in the fight for a better future – one that provides fair pay, holds brands accountable, and ends workplace abuse within the fashion industry. #PayHer
I stand with the 46,000 garment workers in Los Angeles in the fight for a better future – one that provides fair pay, holds brands accountable, and ends workplace abuse within the fashion industry. #PayHer
Continue to pay attention and ask the major question: Where’s the money? Check out Remake’s website to see what else you can do to support the #PayUp campaign and take action.