Walmart's New Uniform Vests Are Not Made in America
Last year Walmart vowed to increase its spending by $250 billion on U.S.-made products within the next decade. This month it will mandate that all employees wear Walmart branded vests that were made in Western Asia.
AOL Jobs posted an image of the inside of the polyester vest printed with "Made in Jordan." In 2001, The Huffington Post reported Jordanian workers allegedly endured excessively long work days, withheld pay and violence from their superiors while making clothes for Walmart and other brands.
With its pledge to increase its domestic sourcing, the company held its first-ever "Made in the USA" open call at its headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. in July. This allowed small businesses to pitch their American-made, assembled, grown or sourced products to Walmart's senior leaders and merchants.
“In an unprecedented event, we are opening our doors and making our buyers available to meet with suppliers with one goal in mind: buy more American products,” Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., said in a statement prior to the event.
Walmart committed to one-third of the more than 800 suppliers that pitched their products and is working on logistics with another third, according to CNBC.
However, the company told CNBC that it couldn't find a U.S. supplier to make 1.4 million vests by its deadline.
"The sheer number of vests that we ordered for our associates is the reason that we utilized a current apparel supplier in that location," Michelle Gloeckler, executive vice president of consumables and U.S. manufacturing at Walmart said. "Our intent is to replenish the vests as needed through a U.S. supplier."
Employees will be mandated to wear the Jordan-made vests, starting Sept. 29. Walmart also has been criticized for requiring minimum-wage workers to purchase pieces to complete the new dress code. While the business will provide the vests, the employees are responsible for obtaining white or navy blue polos and black or khaki pants, capris or skirts to complete the look, according to Gawker.