Legislative Alert | Global Worker Rights

Letter Supporting Legislation That Would Fights to Prevent Forced Labor for the Uyghur People

Dear Senator:

On behalf of the AFL-CIO, I urge you to support a timely vote in the Senate on H.R. 6210, the revised Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which the House passed on September 22nd by an overwhelming vote of 406-3.

A range of well-documented sources have shown that numerous global supply chains are embedded in systematic forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Uyghur Region) of China. There is no debate about the gravity and scale of the abuse there. As noted, the House of Representatives recently voted overwhelmingly in a bipartisan manner to take comprehensive action against the import of goods from the Uyghur Region. The House-passed version establishes the legal presumption that any product arriving at U.S. ports that was manufactured in the Uyghur Region, or contains inputs from the region, was made using forced labor. Unless the corporation importing the product can prove there was no forced labor used in its production, the importation of the product is considered illegal and the product is barred from entering the U.S.

By passing this legislation, the U.S. Congress will join and support the broad and growing number of national and international organizations that recognize forced labor is ubiquitous in the Uyghur Region and that the climate of political repression makes it impossible to do the kind of labor inspections that would allow corporations to ensure that workplaces are free of forced labor.

Given this reality, the only way companies can keep forced labor out of their supply chains and out of goods they import and sell to U.S. consumers is to extricate their supply chains from the Uyghur Region. In addition to the egregious violations of human rights in the Uyghur Region, this broad systematic use of forced labor represents both a sustained instance of unfair competition by Chinese companies and tainted profits of those U.S. and European corporations that import goods to the U.S.

With this legislation, the U.S. can play a leading role among governments and provide clear guidance to companies that want to obey the law, and end their complicity in forced labor and human rights violations. I urge you to support swift Senate action on the House-passed version of H.R. 6210.

Sincerely,
William Samuel
Director, Government Affairs