October 28, 2011
Washington, DC—The nation’s oldest consumer and worker advocacy organization is calling on parents stocking up on Halloween treats this weekend to make worker-friendly purchases. The National Consumers League, the Washington, DC-based consumer and worker’s rights organization, has announced an effort to fill trick-or-treaters’ bags with union-made candy.
“In just a few days, children across the country will cheerfully announce their presence at doorways hoping to receive sweet treats. While Halloween certainly belongs to kids, we adults, get to make some decisions too. This year, we’re calling on parents to be smart about the candy they purchase and hand out, find out if it’s made by unionized workers who are paid a fair wage,” said Michell K. McIntyre, Director of NCL’s Special Project on Wage Theft.
A few labor-friendly candy manufactures include Nestle, Ghiradelli Chocolates, Hershey, Gimbals Fine Candies, Just Born, Necco, Nabisco, and Keebler. One fly in the ointment is Hershey, which was many union workers but had more than its fair share of wage violations this year. From the exploitation of foreign J-1 visa student workers in its packing facility to the second class-action lawsuit being filed against the company for failing to pay its employees for overtime, Hershey’s domestic labor problems are not the company’s only issue.
Hershey has also been criticized by child labor advocates who have organized a “No Hershey’s Halloween,” because the company sources cocoa to make chocolate from West Africa where there are up to two million children working under conditions considered to be among the “worst forms of child labor.” While many chocolate companies have taken steps to trace their cocoa purchasing to reduce child labor from their supply chains, the Hershey Company lags behind its competitors.
At Union Plus, a Web site established by the AFL-CIO to provide consumer benefits to members and retirees of participating labor unions, consumers can view a list of approved candy choices provided by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM); snack foods by members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW); or fruit and nuts from members of the United Farm Workers of America (UFW).
“NCL is happy to join with union allies and working families to encourage consumers to vote with their pocketbooks and support worker-friendly candy manufacturers this Halloween,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director.
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.