S. 3485 (109th): Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act

109th Congress, 2005–2006. Text as of Jun 08, 2006 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

II

109th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 3485

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

June 8, 2006

introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance

A BILL

To amend the Tariff Act of 1930 to prohibit the import, export, and sale of goods made with sweatshop labor, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act.

2.

Findings and purposes

(a)

Findings

Congress makes the following findings:

(1)

The violation of core labor standards, as defined under the laws of the United States and the International Labor Organization, is widespread in factories that produce goods for sale in the United States.

(2)

Factories that violate core labor standards are commonly referred to as sweatshops.

(3)

Subjecting factory workers to sweatshop conditions that violate core labor standards is morally offensive to the American people both in their roles as consumers and as investors, and is degrading to workers forced to labor under these conditions.

(4)

Workers have a right to be free of sweatshop working conditions.

(5)

Consumers have a right to know that the goods they purchase are not produced in sweatshops.

(6)

Businesses have a right to be free from competition with companies that use sweatshop labor.

(7)

Shareholders have a right to know that their investments are not supporting sweatshop labor.

(8)

It is a deceptive trade practice and a form of unfair competition for a business to sell sweatshop goods.

(9)

Prohibiting the sale, manufacture, offer for sale, transportation, and distribution of sweatshop goods, regardless of the source of the goods, is consistent with the international obligations of the United States because the prohibition applies equally to domestic and foreign products and avoids any discrimination among foreign sources of competing products.

(b)

Purposes

The purposes of this Act are to—

(1)

prohibit the import, export, or sale of goods made in factories or workshops that violate core labor standards; and

(2)

prohibit the procurement of sweatshop goods by the United States Government.

3.

Definition of core labor standards

(a)

In general

In this Act, the term core labor standards, means—

(1)

the right of association;

(2)

the right to organize and bargain collectively;

(3)

a prohibition on the use of any form of forced or compulsory labor;

(4)

a minimum age for the employment of children; and

(5)

acceptable conditions of work with respect to minimum wages, hours of work, and occupational safety and health.

(b)

Acceptable conditions

For purposes of subsection (a)(5), acceptable conditions of work shall be determined by the laws, regulations, or competent authority of the country where the labor is performed.

I

Tariff Act of 1930

101.

Importation and sale of sweatshop goods prohibited

Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1307) is amended to read as follows:

307.

Prohibition of import and sale of convict-made goods and sweatshop goods

(a)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Convict-made good

The term convict-made good means any good, ware, article, or merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in any foreign country by convict labor.

(2)

Sweatshop good

The term sweatshop good means any good, ware, article, or merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in violation of core labor standards as defined in section 3 of the Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act.

(b)

Prohibitions

It is unlawful for any person to—

(1)

import into the United States any convict-made good;

(2)

import into, or export from, the United States any sweatshop good;

(3)

introduce into commerce, sell, trade, or advertise in commerce, offer to sell, or transport or distribute in commerce in the United States, any sweatshop good.

.

102.

Waiver authority

(a)

In general

The President, for reasons of national interest, may recommend that the application of section 201 of this Act or section 307(b) (2) and (3) of the Tariff Act of 1930 be waived in connection with the goods of any country with respect to 1 or more of the principles and rights defined as a core labor standard in section 3 of this Act. Any such recommendation shall—

(1)

be transmitted to the House of Representatives and the Senate setting forth the President’s reasons for the waiver;

(2)

include, for each waiver recommendation, a determination that the waiver is necessary to protect the national interest of the United States; and

(3)

include, for each principle or right for which a waiver is recommended, an explanation of why the President recommends waiving application of that principle or right.

(b)

Period of waiver

A waiver under this section shall be effective for a 12-month period unless Congress enacts a joint resolution described in subsection (c).

(c)

Joint resolution requirements and procedures

(1)

Resolution described

For purposes of this subsection, the term resolution means only a joint resolution of the two Houses of Congress, the matter after the resolving clause of which is as follows: That the Congress does not approve the waiver of section 201 of the Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act or section 307(b) (2) and (3) of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1307) recommended by the President to the Congress on _______ with respect to the application of _______ to the goods of_______., with the first blank space being filled with the appropriate date, the second blank space being filled with the principle or right to be waived, and the third blank space being filled with the name of the country, if any, with respect to which the waiver of authority is disapproved.

(2)

Application of procedural provisions

The provisions of section 152 (b) through (f) of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2192 (b) through (f)) shall apply to resolutions described in paragraph (1).

(3)

Approval by congress

If Congress approves a joint resolution, Congress shall send the resolution to the President before the end of the 90-day period beginning on the date that Congress receives the waiver described in subsection (a).

(4)

Effect of veto

If the President vetoes the joint resolution, the resolution is enacted into law if each House of Congress votes to override the veto on or before the later of the last day of the 90-day period referred to in paragraph (3) or the last day of the 15-day period, excluding any day described in section 154(b) of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2194(b)), beginning on the date the Congress receives the veto message from the President.

(5)

Introduction

A joint resolution to which this subsection applies may be introduced at any time on or after the date the President transmits to Congress the waiver described in subsection (a).

(d)

Termination or extension of waiver

A waiver with respect to the goods of any country terminates on the day after the waiver authority granted by this subsection ceases to be effective with respect to such country, unless an extension of the waiver authority is granted. The President may recommend an extension of the waiver authority in the same manner as the original recommendation, except that the President may not recommend an extension later than the date that is 30 days before the waiver authority expires. The President may, at any time, terminate by Executive order any waiver under this section.

II

Federal Trade Commission

201.

Violation of Federal Trade Commission Act

(a)

In general

It is unlawful for any person to introduce into commerce, sell, trade, or advertise in commerce, offer to sell or transport or distribute in commerce any sweatshop good.

(b)

Sweatshop good

For purposes of this title, the term sweatshop good means any good, ware, article, or merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in violation of core labor standards, listed in section 3 of this Act.

(c)

Enforcement

(1)

In general

The Federal Trade Commission shall enforce the provisions of this section with respect to the prohibitions under subsection (a) as if the violation were an unfair or deceptive act or practice proscribed under section 18(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 57a(a)(1)(B)).

(2)

Actions by the Commission

The Commission shall prevent any person from violating this Act in the same manner, by the same means, and with the same jurisdiction, powers, and duties as though all applicable terms and provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.) were incorporated into and made a part of this title. Any person that violates the provisions of this title shall be subject to the penalties and entitled to the privileges and immunities provided in said Federal Trade Commission Act in the same manner, by the same means, and with the same jurisdiction, power, and duties as though all applicable terms and provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act were incorporated into and made a part of this title.

(3)

Investigations

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Federal Trade Commission shall investigate any complaint received from a worker alleging a violation of this title with respect to a good, ware, article, or merchandise produced by that worker.

(4)

Regulations

Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Federal Trade Commission shall publish rules to carry out the provisions of this title.

202.

Private right of action

(a)

Private suits

A person with standing to sue under subsection (c) may bring a civil action against any seller of goods, wares, articles, or merchandise on grounds of violation of section 201.

(b)

Jurisdiction

The United States district courts shall have jurisdiction, without regard to the amount in controversy or the citizenship of the parties, to enforce this section.

(c)

Standing to sue

The followings persons have standing to sue under this section:

(1)

Competitors of the retailer of any good, ware, article, or merchandise sold in violation of section 201.

(2)

Investors of the retailer of any good, ware, article, or merchandise sold in violation of section 201.

(d)

Damages; injunctive relief; attorney costs and fees

(1)

When a violation of section 201 is established in any civil action arising under this section, the plaintiff shall be entitled to recover $10,000 per violation or the fair market value of the goods, whichever is greater. The court may increase the award of damages if the court finds that the defendant willfully or knowingly violated section 201.

(2)

The plaintiff may sue for injunctive relief against threatened loss or damage due to a violation of section 201.

(3)

The court shall award the cost of the suit, including a reasonable attorney’s fee, to a prevailing plaintiff.

(e)

Interagency cooperation

All Federal departments and agencies shall cooperate with the Commissioner of Customs and the Federal Trade Commission, to the extent practicable in the enforcement of this title.

(f)

List of violators; disclosure and publication by Federal trade commission

On January 1 and July 1 of each year, the Federal Trade Commission shall publish in the Federal Register and post on an Internet website the following information:

(1)

An alphabetical list of the name, address, and chief executive officer of each person that has, during the 2 years prior to publication, violated the provisions of this title, along with a summary description of each violation and the cumulative number of violations by each person on the list.

(2)

A detailed description of each violation that includes the following information:

(A)

The name, address, and chief executive officer of each violator.

(B)

The circumstances under which core labor standards, as defined in section 3 of this Act were violated in the course of the mining, production, or manufacturing of the goods in question.

III

Government procurement

301.

Government procurement of sweatshop goods prohibited

(a)

Amendment to federal property and administrative services act of 1949

Title III of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (41 U.S.C. 251 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

318.

Prohibition on procurement of sweatshop goods

(a)

Certification requirement

The head of an executive agency shall ensure that each covered contract entered into by such official for the procurement of property includes a clause that requires the contractor—

(1)

to certify to the contracting officer that the contractor has made a good faith effort to determine whether any product furnished under the contract is a sweatshop good, and that, on the basis of those efforts, the contractor is unaware that any such product is a sweatshop good; and

(2)

to cooperate fully in providing reasonable access to the contractor’s records, persons, or premises if requested by the contracting agency, the Directorate of Border and Transportation Security of the Department of Homeland Security, or the Department of Justice for the purpose of determining whether any product furnished under the contract is a sweatshop good.

(b)

Investigations

Whenever a contracting officer of an executive agency has reason to believe that a product furnished under a covered contract is a sweatshop good, the head of the executive agency shall refer the matter for investigation to the Inspector General of the executive agency and, as the head of the executive agency or the Inspector General determines appropriate, to the Attorney General and the Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security.

(c)

Remedies

(1)

In general

The head of an executive agency may impose remedies as provided in this subsection if the head of the executive agency finds that the contractor—

(A)

has furnished under a covered contract a product that is a sweatshop good;

(B)

has submitted a false certification under subsection (a)(1); or

(C)

has failed to cooperate with an investigation under this section.

(2)

Termination of contract

The head of an executive agency may terminate a covered contract on the basis of a finding of a violation that occurs under paragraph (1) after the date the requirements of this section are implemented through the amendment of the Federal Acquisition Regulation under sections 6 and 25 of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 405 and 421).

(3)

Debarment and suspension

The head of an executive agency may debar or suspend a contractor from eligibility for Federal contracts on the basis of a finding that the contractor has committed a violation described in paragraph (1). The debarment period may not exceed 3 years.

(4)

Inclusion on list of parties excluded from federal procurement and nonprocurement programs

The Administrator of General Services shall include on the List of Parties Excluded from Federal Procurement and Nonprocurement Programs maintained by the Administrator under part 9 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation each contractor that is debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment or suspension, or declared ineligible by the head of an executive agency on the basis that the contractor has committed a violation under paragraph (1).

(5)

Remedies not exclusive

This section shall not be construed to limit the use of other remedies available to the head of an executive agency or any other official of the Federal Government on the basis of a finding under paragraph (1).

(d)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Covered contract

The term covered contract means a contract for a total amount in excess of the micro-purchase threshold, as that term is defined in section 32(f) of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 428(f)).

(2)

Sweatshop good

The term sweatshop good means all goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in violation of core labor standards, as defined in section 3 of the Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act.

.

(b)

Amendment to title 10, United States Code

(1)

In general

Chapter 137 of title 10, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:

2333.

Prohibition on procurement of sweatshop goods

(a)

Certification requirement

The head of an agency shall ensure that each covered contract entered into by such official for the procurement of property includes a clause that requires the contractor—

(1)

to certify to the contracting officer that the contractor has made a good faith effort to determine whether any product furnished under the contract is a sweatshop good, and that, on the basis of those efforts, the contractor is unaware that any such product is a sweatshop good; and

(2)

to cooperate fully in providing reasonable access to the contractor’s records, persons, or premises if requested by the contracting agency, the Directorate of Border and Transportation Security of the Department of Homeland Security, or the Department of Justice for the purpose of determining whether any product furnished under the contract is a sweatshop good.

(b)

Investigations

Whenever a contracting officer of an agency has reason to believe that a product furnished under a covered contract is a sweatshop good, the head of the agency shall refer the matter for investigation to the Inspector General of the agency and, as the head of the agency or the Inspector General determines appropriate, to the Attorney General and the Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security.

(c)

Remedies

(1)

The head of an agency may impose remedies as provided in this subsection if the head of the agency finds that the contractor—

(A)

has furnished under a covered contract a product that is a sweatshop good;

(B)

has submitted a false certification under subsection (a)(1); or

(C)

has failed to cooperate with an investigation under subsection (b).

(2)

The head of an agency may terminate a covered contract on the basis of a finding of a violation that occurs under paragraph (1) after the date the requirements of this section are implemented through the amendment of the Federal Acquisition Regulation under sections 6 and 25 of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 405 and 421).

(3)

The head of an agency may debar or suspend a contractor from eligibility for Federal contracts on the basis of a finding that the contractor has committed a violation described in paragraph (1). The debarment period may not exceed 3 years.

(4)

The Administrator of General Services shall include on the List of Parties Excluded from Federal Procurement and Nonprocurement Programs maintained by the Administrator under part 9 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation each contractor that is debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment or suspension, or declared ineligible by the head of an agency on the basis that the contractor has committed a violation under paragraph (1).

(5)

This section shall not be construed to limit the use of other remedies available to the head of an agency or any other official of the Federal Government on the basis of a finding under paragraph (1).

(d)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

The term covered contract means a contract for a total amount in excess of the micro-purchase threshold, as that term is defined in section 32(f) of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 428(f)).

(2)

The term sweatshop good means all goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in violation of core labor standards, as defined in section 3 of the Decent Working Conditions and Fair Competition Act.

.

(2)

Clerical amendment

The table of contents at the beginning of such chapter is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

2333. Prohibition on procurement of sweatshop goods..

(c)

Implementation through the federal acquisition regulation

Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council shall amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation issued under sections 6 and 25 of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 405 and 421) to provide for the implementation of the requirements of section 318 of the Federal Property of Administrative Services Act of 1949 and section 2333 of title 10, United States Code, as added by subsections (a) and (b), respectively.

(d)

Report

Not later than 2 years after the requirements of this section and of section 318 of the Federal Property of Administrative Services Act of 1949 and section 2333 of title 10, United States Code, as added by subsections (a) and (b), respectively, are implemented through the amendment of the Federal Acquisition Regulation pursuant to subsection (c), the Administrator of General Services, with the assistance of other executive agencies, shall submit to the Office of Management and Budget a report on the actions taken under such sections.