Representative Nadler, Senator Gillibrand Announce Landmark Labor Bill to Strengthen Garment Workers' Rights and Incentivize Made-In-America Clothing Manufacturing
Washington, September 14, 2023
REPRESENTATIVE NADLER, SENATOR GILLIBRAND ANNOUNCE LANDMARK LABOR BILL TO STRENGTHEN GARMENT WORKERS' RIGHTS AND INCENTIVIZE MADE-IN-AMERICA CLOTHING MANUFACTURING
Bill Announced In The Midst Of Reinvigorated U.S. Labor Movement
The U.S. Garment Industry Loses Out On Over $23 Billion Annually Due To China Imports;
The Global Fast Fashion Industry Is Expected To Grow By More Than 15% This Year, Prioritizing Profits Over an Already Overworked Workforce; Abuse In Garment Industry Disproportionately Shouldered By Women, People Of Color, And Immigrant Workers
The FABRIC Act is centered around four main pillars:
Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Nydia Velázquez (NY-7), and Deborah Ross (NC-2) are original cosponsors of the FABRIC Act.
“As the Representative of New York’s storied Garment District, I’m proud to join Senator Gillibrand in introducing the FABRIC Act today, legislation that will advance historic protections for garment workers and revitalize fashion manufacturing in the United States,” said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “With domestic fashion manufacturing having declined precipitously from its peak in 1973, the FABRIC Act is essential to bringing back these jobs from overseas while holding manufacturers accountable for labor violations that are far too common in the industry.”
“American workers are making their voices heard across industries as a renewed labor movement makes its voice heard. For far too long, garment workers in the once-bustling American apparel manufacturing industry have been exploited and overlooked,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The popularization of the fast fashion business model has perpetuated abuse of an already underpaid and overworked workforce, promoting profits over people, overconsumption, and rampant wage theft. From designers to workers, women, people of color, and immigrants shoulder this burden. I’m reintroducing the FABRIC Act, a one-of-a-kind federal bill to thread the needle of protecting workers’ rights, putting an end to the misuse of piece-rate pay, and making historic investments in domestic garment manufacturing. Protecting the garment workforce
“It is unconscionable in 2023 that the makers of our clothes do not make enough to feed their families. The FABRIC Act is a timely bill that would create jobs of dignity right here at home at a time when onshoring interest has gone up. The bill includes necessary investments to spur cleaner, greener manufacturing in the United States.” - Ayesha Barenblat, CEO, Remake
American garment workers face the second-highest rate of wage theft of any group of workers in the country. At its peak in April of 1973, the U.S. apparel production industry employed 1.4 million people. This number has steadily declined since. As of August 2023, only 91,200 Americans were employed in apparel manufacturing. Today, apparel imports from China to the United States are over 8 times higher than they were in the 1980s, and between 1995 and 2020, China gained an estimated 1.25 million jobs in apparel and apparel-adjacent manufacturing while the U.S. lost roughly 700,000 jobs. The U.S. garment industry now loses out on over $23 billion annually that is instead imported from China. To fix this, the FABRIC Act has dual goals: 1) protecting and improving working conditions for garment workers; and 2) rejuvenating the garment industry in the United States.
The FABRIC Act amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to create a historic new set of labor protections for workers in the garment industry designed to curb many of the abuses inherent to industry bad actors. Some of these protections include:
The FABRIC Act has garnered more than 200 endorsements. For the full list please click here.
This legislation has received technical assistance from the Department of Labor Wage & Hour Division and legal experts at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
To read more about the FABRIC Act, please click here.
Jerrold Nadler has served in Congress since 1992. He represents New York's 12th Congressional District, which includes parts of Manhattan.