Hard to swallow, my flip flops

The people that make our flip flops often work 15-16 hours per day seven days a week. I don’t imagine that this complies with any worker laws, regulations, or compliances anywhere in the world. That’s why I gave the passage below from Deckers Outdoor’s webpage the ol’ “bullshit” sneeze.

Deckers We do not manufacture our footwear. We outsource the manufacturing of our Teva, Simple and UGG footwear to independent manufacturers in China. We also outsource the manufacturing of our UGG footwear to independent manufacturers in New Zealand and Australia. We require our independent contract manufacturers and designated suppliers to adopt our Factory Charter and to comply with all local laws and regulations governing human rights, working conditions and environmental compliance, before we are willing to place business with them. We require our licensees to demand the same from their contract factories and suppliers. We have no long-term contracts with our manufacturers. As we grow, we expect to continue to rely exclusively on independent manufacturers for our
sourcing needs.

I was told that China has stricter labor laws than what we have in the USA so it’s highly unlikely that the factory I visited that makes Tevas meets them. But in China, the law and practice are two very different things. Deckers is probably not any more or less guilty than other shoe manufacturers that source in China, which is pretty much all of them.

Deckers is trying to capitalize on the sustainability movement, but how long before they start trying to capitalize on the social-conscience movement and offer products by workers who don’t spend every waking minute gluing, stitching, and packing?

I found this passage on their website, too. (Again, I’ve highlighted the points that I find hard to swallow):

We do the right thing by assuring that our manufacturers do not employ child, forced, indentured, or convict labor. We openly and proudly comply with guidelines set forth by Amnesty International that recognized these Human Rights standards in the workplace. How can we be sure? Easy. We have full access to our factories, and we grade them several times a year against our standards. This helps us work closely with our manufacturers to ensure that safety measures like adequate lighting, healthy air, access to first aid, set minimum wages and protection against mandatory overtime, and safe workstations are implemented.

I would drive 45 mph in a 35 mph zone if there weren’t police officers that would give me a ticket. Wouldn’t you? Self-policing just doesn’t work.

Here’s more thoughts on my flip flops.

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Kent says:

That is hard to swallow.

Is your book going to come to a conclusion, or are you going to present all sides and let the reader make up their mind?

Personally, I prefer when books tell me what to think.

Kelsey says:

Kent, It’s not easy to come to conclusions on this subject, but I’ve definitely made up my mind on certain things and I will share those in the book. My goal is to present all aspects of the debate and then say what I think without being preachy.

Originally I thought I would just take the reader along for the ride and they could make up their own mind. But now I feel that I have a responsibility to say more.

Let your voice be heard!