Draft Proposal for Sunday 10/30 GA: Screen Printing Guild

Posted by & filed under Assemblies, Past Proposals.

WORKING GROUP: Screen Printing Guild
PROPOSAL: buying blank Tshirts from a sweatshop-free source

 

DESCRIPTION: The Screen Guild proposes to buy blank Tshirts and hoodies (to screen with OWS designs) in bulk from a sweatshop-labor-free supplier.

 

This is a REVENUE-GENERATING INVESTMENT OF OWS FUNDS, as well as a great outreach and movement-building activity. We’d also like you to consider using this merch in KICKSTARTER campaigns. I’ve consulted with the National Labor Committee on garment sourcing.

 

We’re proposing the GA vote on both these items tonight – an immediate smaller expenditure to be followed by a larger expenditure next week, with stipulations attached. Basically, once we make the money with the first expenditure, we want to spend it on the second to raise even more funds for the movement. The Screen Guild has already raised upwards of $10,000 for OWS.

 

STAGE ONE BUDGET: total $1770

 

$520 Playback UPCYCLED RPET/cotton Ts $5 x 100 = $500 + $20 shipping

$1250 Playback 100% RECYCLED HOODIE: 100 x $12 = $1200 + $50 shipping

OR  we could not order hoodies – 500 UPCYCLED post-consumer cotton $4ea is  $2000 + $100 shipping = $2100
(keep in mind, the Screen Guild has already raised over $10,000 in donations)

 

We will easily double that amount at a minimum, based on the $10+ average Tshirt donation at the screening station. We can suggest significantly more than that for hoodies. (Please see the suggested donation info card on our working group page.)

 

STAGE TWO BUDGET: $6000, to be dispensed at the discretion of the Finance wg – we make the money, we spend it to make more money.

Exactly which garments we use will depend on your feedback about garment sourcing (see below)

 

BACKGROUND: The Screen Guild has been silk-screening textiles and Tshirts on site for almost three weeks, for FREE, with donated OWS designs, screens, ink, etc. on donated shirts. We’ve generated upwards of $10,000 for the movement, through donations at the screen station. (We have a secure $ process worked out with Finance and Security.)

 

We screen on donated shirts and what people are wearing but we can do a lot more than that if we have blank shirts available. The first weekend we bought some shirts at Modell’s to get the ball rolling, but we’re not happy buying Hanes or Fruit of the Loom because of the rotten unsustainable labor practices that go into producing those garments. Although we aren’t buying those shirts anymore, people who want shirts are buying them and bringing them to us to screen. Also, some shady entrepreneurial activity has sprung up in the occupation next to silk-screening, selling blank shirts for bogus “donations” before people get to the screening station – this undermines both the mission and the fundraising abilities of the Screen Guild. If we have our own Tshirts, that won’t be a problem anymore.

 

For an account of our first weekend, read: http://www.justseeds.org/blog/2011/10/occuprint_everything_1.html

 

GOALS: The Screen Guild provides both an outreach tool and an income stream for OWS. We want to expand both, and do it with materials we can be proud of.

 

We consulted with the National Labor Committee about ethical choices in garment selection – if you’ve ever seen a story about sweatshop labor, they were probably the source of the investigation. When you start looking at how to make a positive impact (and try not to make a negative one) there’s many different social and environmental levels to balance.

 

FOUR THINGS TO CONSIDER WITH GARMENT SOURCING:  

1. LABOR – who sews the Tshirt? Who makes the fabric? Who harvests the raw materials? Union made? USA made? Fair wages? Subcontracted?

2. MATERIALS – cotton? organic? This figures into labor in a big way — are the workers of that cotton soaked in pesticides? Is petroleum making the polyester in that shirt? Has all this been shipped around the world several times in manufacturing?

3. RECYCLING – post-consumer recyclables, both rags and soda bottles are being made into new garments. Usually they’re blends – RPET polyester (Recycled PET plastic water/soda bottles) with cotton.

4. FASHION – cut, color, fit, softness. We want to print quality shirts that people will wear, not shirts that will sit at the bottom of the pile until they get donated.

 

There are NO USA-MADE UNION-MADE ORGANIC or recycled materials Tshirts available for sale in the USA. Shocking, isn’t it?
OUR CHOICES:

A. USA Union-made, non-organic cotton or blends $4/shirt via EthixMerch

B. USA made ORGANIC $6/shirt via EthixMerch

C. USA made RECYCLED POST-CONSUMER WASTE, $8/shirt via EthixMerch

D. Recycled bottles shirts (65% bottles into polyester, 35% cotton) $5/shirt Made in Guatemala above min-wage, not subcontracted  via Playback

E. Recycled clothing scraps $4/shirt via Playback

F. Whatever is on sale at American Apparel. (“Sweatshop Free. Made in USA.” But people are creeped out by their sexist profile as a business)

 

Our sweatshop-labor-free suppliers:

http://ethixmerch.com/

http://playbackclothing.com/

 

STYLES — Tshirts, raglan sleeve concert shirts, long-sleeved, hoodies

 

WHAT DOES IT COST?

1000 Union Made USA shirts $4000 + $250 shipping = $4250

1000 ORGANIC COTTON $6000 = $250 shipping = $6250

1000 RECYCLED BOTTLE SHIRTS – $5000 + $250 shipping = $5250

1000 post-consumer cotton – $4000 + $250 shipping = $4250

 

NOTE: SHIPPING $250/1000 Tshirts

 

Hoodies are a little expensive, but we’d like to do a 100 lightweight ones to start and could do more in the future. Hoodies and other merch could be used as rewards in Kickstarter campaigns.

 

Hoodies – $50 to ship 100 (.50/each or $250/per 500)

EthixMerch prices based on 500 units:

 

PULLOVERS: $12 Playback, $22 Ethix UNION MADE, $27 ORGANIC USAmade

12×500=6000 // 22×500=11,000 // 27×500=13,500

 

ZIP UP $16/$17 Playback, $24 UNION, $28 ORGANIC USA made

16×500=8000 // 17×500=8500 //24×500=12,000 // 28×500=14,000

 

Playback 60% UPCYCLED material HOODIES: 100 x $12 = $1200 + $50 shipping

 

 

 

 

We have brought this to the relevant working groups (FINANCE and SIS) and invite others to comment here. Although we’re ready to buy 5000 shirts and make a ton of cash for OWS, in a spirit of cooperation and a respect for the competing needs of cash flow (like BAIL MONEY), we’re starting small in this Tshirt buy. 100 long-sleeve pullover hoodies and 100 Tshirts, both made of recycled materials.

 

We estimate that we could easily go through 5000 garments in two weeks, at a rate of 500/day when we have 4 screens working on site (some days we don’t print, mostly because of weather), right now while the weather is still good. But we’re happy to take this in smaller steps…

18 Responses to “Draft Proposal for Sunday 10/30 GA: Screen Printing Guild”

  1. LGNY

    hmmm, what is posted above is a short version I did on my phone…here’s the longer, more complete version for your consideration and feedback.

    OCT 26, 2011 – to be voted on SUN Oct 30, 2011
    WORKING GROUP: Screen Printing Guild

    PROPOSAL: buying blank Tshirts from a sweatshop-free source

    DESCRIPTION: The Screen Guild proposes to buy blank Tshirts and hoodies (to screen with OWS designs) in bulk from a sweatshop-labor-free supplier.

    This is a REVENUE-GENERATING INVESTMENT OF OWS FUNDS, as well as a great outreach and movement-building activity. We’d also like you to consider using this merch in KICKSTARTER campaigns. I’ve consulted with the National Labor Committee on garment sourcing.

    We’re proposing the GA vote on both these items tonight – an immediate smaller expenditure to be followed by a larger expenditure next week, with stipulations attached. Basically, once we make the money with the first expenditure, we want to spend it on the second to raise even more funds for the movement. The Screen Guild has already raised upwards of $10,000 for OWS.

    STAGE ONE BUDGET: total $1770 or $2100

    $520 Playback UPCYCLED RPET/cotton Ts $5 x 100 = $500 + $20 shipping
    $1250 Playback 100% RECYCLED HOODIE: 100 x $12 = $1200 + $50 shipping
    OR we could not order hoodies — 500 UPCYCLED post-consumer cotton $4ea is $2000 + $100 shipping = $2100
    (keep in mind, the Screen Guild has already raised over $10,000 in donations)

    We will easily double that amount at a minimum, based on the $10+ average Tshirt donation at the screening station. We can suggest significantly more than that for hoodies. (Please see the suggested donation info card on our working group page.)

    STAGE TWO BUDGET: $6000, to be dispensed at the discretion of the Finance wg – we make the money, we spend it to make more money.
    Exactly which garments we use will depend on your feedback about garment sourcing (see below)

    BACKGROUND: The Screen Guild has been silk-screening textiles and Tshirts on site for almost three weeks, for FREE, with donated OWS designs, screens, ink, etc. on donated shirts. We’ve generated upwards of $10,000 for the movement, through donations at the screen station. (We have a secure $ process worked out with Finance and Security.)

    We screen on donated shirts and what people are wearing but we can do a lot more than that if we have blank shirts available. The first weekend we bought some shirts at Modell’s to get the ball rolling, but we’re not happy buying Hanes or Fruit of the Loom because of the rotten unsustainable labor practices that go into producing those garments. Although we aren’t buying those shirts anymore, people who want shirts are buying them and bringing them to us to screen. Also, some shady entrepreneurial activity has sprung up in the occupation next to silk-screening, selling blank shirts for bogus “donations” before people get to the screening station – this undermines both the mission and the fundraising abilities of the Screen Guild. If we have our own Tshirts, that won’t be a problem anymore.

    For an account of our first weekend, read: http://www.justseeds.org/blog/2011/10/occuprint_everything_1.html

    GOALS: The Screen Guild provides both an outreach tool and an income stream for OWS. We want to expand both, and do it with materials we can be proud of.

    We consulted with the National Labor Committee about ethical choices in garment selection – if you’ve ever seen a story about sweatshop labor, they were probably the source of the investigation. When you start looking at how to make a positive impact (and try not to make a negative one) there’s many different social and environmental levels to balance.

    FOUR THINGS TO CONSIDER WITH GARMENT SOURCING:
    1. LABOR – who sews the Tshirt? Who makes the fabric? Who harvests the raw materials? Union made? USA made? Fair wages? Subcontracted?

    2. MATERIALS – cotton? organic? This figures into labor in a big way — are the workers of that cotton soaked in pesticides? Is petroleum making the polyester in that shirt? Has all this been shipped around the world several times in manufacturing?

    3. RECYCLING – post-consumer recyclables, both rags and soda bottles are being made into new garments. Usually they’re blends – RPET polyester (Recycled PET plastic water/soda bottles) with cotton.

    4. FASHION – cut, color, fit, softness. We want to print quality shirts that people will wear, not shirts that will sit at the bottom of the pile until they get donated.

    There are NO USA-MADE UNION-MADE ORGANIC or recycled materials Tshirts available for sale in the USA. Shocking, isn’t it?

    OUR CHOICES:
    A. USA Union-made, non-organic cotton or blends $4/shirt via EthixMerch
    B. USA made ORGANIC $6/shirt via EthixMerch
    C. USA made RECYCLED POST-CONSUMER WASTE, $8/shirt via EthixMerch
    D. Recycled bottles shirts (65% bottles into polyester, 35% cotton) $5/shirt Made in Guatemala above min-wage, not subcontracted via Playback
    E. Recycled clothing scraps $4/shirt via Playback
    F. Whatever is on sale at American Apparel. (“Sweatshop Free. Made in USA.” But people are creeped out by their sexist profile as a business)

    Our sweatshop-labor-free suppliers:
    http://ethixmerch.com/
    http://playbackclothing.com/

    STYLES — Tshirts, raglan sleeve concert shirts, long-sleeved, hoodies

    WHAT DOES IT COST?
    1000 Union Made USA shirts $4000 + $250 shipping = $4250
    1000 ORGANIC COTTON $6000 = $250 shipping = $6250
    1000 RECYCLED BOTTLE SHIRTS – $5000 + $250 shipping = $5250
    1000 post-consumer cotton – $4000 + $250 shipping = $4250

    NOTE: SHIPPING $250/1000 Tshirts

    Hoodies are a little expensive, but we’d like to do a 100 lightweight ones to start and could do more in the future. Hoodies and other merch could be used as rewards in Kickstarter campaigns.

    Hoodies — $50 to ship 100 (.50/each or $250/per 500)
    EthixMerch prices based on 500 units:

    PULLOVERS: $12 Playback, $22 Ethix UNION MADE, $27 ORGANIC USAmade
    12×500=6000 // 22×500=11,000 // 27×500=13,500

    ZIP UP $16/$17 Playback, $24 UNION, $28 ORGANIC USA made
    16×500=8000 // 17×500=8500 //24×500=12,000 // 28×500=14,000

    Playback 60% UPCYCLED material HOODIES: 100 x $12 = $1200 + $50 shipping

    We have brought this to the relevant working groups (FINANCE and SIS) and invite others to comment here. Although we’re ready to buy 5000 shirts and make a ton of cash for OWS, in a spirit of cooperation and a respect for the competing needs of cash flow (like BAIL MONEY), we’re starting small in this Tshirt buy. 100 long-sleeve pullover hoodies and 100 Tshirts, both made of recycled materials.

    We estimate that we could easily go through 5000 garments in two weeks, at a rate of 500/day when we have 4 screens working on site (some days we don’t print, mostly because of weather), right now while the weather is still good. But we’re happy to take this in smaller steps…

    • Jhilton

      Buy Made in the USA! Certainly using recycled materials is most beneficial for the planet, but putting American families back to work is also a very important piece to consider. Use your opportunity to source from an American manufacturer and help move them into a model of using post recycle material…that is the Plentitude thing to do! Walk the walk…shipping blanks from Guatemala is a challenge to the environment and do we know what “above” minimum wage in Guatemala means? American’s have been addicted to cheap and do not understand the environmental and human value of their product…make this a teachable moment in manufacturing, and for the consumer as well as a fundraiser otherwise you are not doing anything different than any other t-shirt design firm. Think of the influence you could have…if you use and American manufacturer and any of those big wig entertainers who keep visiting you want to put their corporate money where their mouth is they would do the same…you could all then collectively help transform that American manufacturer’s practices into more sustainable practices by leveraging the value of the new business you bring to them. And no American Apparel! Use your consumer power to create CHANGE!

      • Yarrow

        American made yes, but primarily non-sweatshop, wherever in the world, we are all interconnected, no? Lets just make sure NOT to support oppressive wages ANYWHERE! :)

        • Jhilton

          That is the idea of global markets…that they lift people out of poverty, but sadly without global standards, what happens is one country is bankrupt while another country is coming up from the very, very bottom where wages are horrifying…and then the whole thing just cylces back around. I am not against global markets, I am against bankrupting cycle and the profit margins being the biggest priorities. Just look into what the wages are in Guatemala – the standard is set by their country and it is probably not much higher than sweatshop labor.

    • LGNY

      Sunday update: Facilitation replaced the proposal with the fuller version, so I withdraw my initial comment.

  2. Jhilton

    Playback…”We choose to only work with trade partners who meet international standards for fair wages, employee safety, and child labor”. I worked in manufacturing for years and these standards are set country by country. Playback is a great company but they should also be making their product here in the US and working with a US factory to find ways to bring down cost while employing folks close to home for shirts sold in the US. Do your part by helping to influence this change.

  3. Jhilton

    “There are NO USA UNION-MADE ORGANIC or recycled materials tshirts available for sale in the USA. Shocking, isn’t it?” This is not shocking…putting all these pieces in place is a matter of finance and finding reasonable pricing that the manufacture believes the consumer will buy the product at while still making a profit. So ask yourself how do you build this into your campaign and again make this a teachable moment for all! And yes three responses means this is important enough for a block if I was at a GA! If you want to say you want change then you need to help create it…and that takes work. Ask Playback to work with a US factory and have everyone take a few points off their profit margins and try to get prices that the public can pay – and EDUCATE the consumer about real value pricing!!! americanmademagazine.com – I follow and write about OWS and would love to highlight something extraordinary like getting a US factory to move to sustainable materials and a t-shirt manufacturer to work with the US factory to make that happen all through getting your t-shirts and hoodies out there. Playback is only in Guatemala because the cost of labor + the cost of materials gives them a price that they believe customers will pay…it is not because factories here do not want to explore this – they just don’t believe the customer will pay the price…so educate your CUSTOMER…the 99% about real value pricing.

    • Aria DiSalvo

      Hello! @Jhilton, Aria here from Ethix Merch.

      I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of you to develop an initial quote for union made, USA made, organic, and recycled clothing. I wanted to add a couple notes to this thread:

      -Since I’ve been involved in the sweatshop-free movement beginning back as a USAS-er, I’ve been looking for a perfect T-shirt. And I agree a Union-made, organic/recycled shirt is ideal! Ethix Merch has been striving to create a larger demand for this kind of shirt, so it could have room to thrive when people need new clothing. Right now, here’s what’s available: http://ethixmerch.com/blog/your-ethical-guide-custom-t-shirts-and-tshirts-tee-shirts-or-however-you-spell-it

      -At the moment we are researching one possibility of a super special custom order for OWS that would be union made with organic cotton. Based on this thread, I think it would be an amazing way for movements to come together and support something that’s only able to happen for larger custom orders.

      -I want to also recognize the efforts in the past to develop this kind of perfect T-shirt. Clothing manufacturers and factory owners we know in the US would love for this to be and in-stock reality! Several people I know have lost money trying to make it happen, so it’s not for lack of effort- it’s a big challenge.

      -Beyond the NLC, I’d encourage anyone to check our reputation with other trusted labor rights groups like the International Labor Rights Forum and the Worker Rights Consortium.

      -@Jesse, I completely agree about the 99% of the world, and we are constantly searching for good internationally-based partners, like the new Alta Gracia brand. From what I know about Playback from their website, WRAP certification would not be enough for Ethix to help promote them. It’s known as a very weak standard and we would need more info.

      -@LGNY and Fouad- yay hemp! Again, I agree, but there isn’t a good trustworthy source we know of for this right now. Perhaps work could be done to make it reality? Contact me if you have ideas-

      Thanks for the opportunity to be part of this conversation. I hope the work I do at Ethix can help OWS as we support worker rights and environmental justice together :)

      Onward in solidarity!

  4. jesse goldstein

    When I think of 99% – my initial thought is not 99% of americans – its 99% of the people on this planet. So while I do support sourcing from local businesses for other reasons (carbon footprint and in general localised economies are just more sane – when possible) I’m less supportive of a political perspective that prioritizes the needs of unemployed and underemployed people in the US over unemployed and underemployed people globally. we’re all – globally – in this mess together – and lets not forget how much inspiration was taken from workers and students in other parts of the world to even make our occupation enter into the realm of possibility. Speaking as someone who has been involved with the printmaking process, but not involved at all with the tee shirt sourcing research – I would say i’m in favor of this proposal – but would offer – to allay the above fears – a friendly amendment to the proposal:

    the printers guild will produce a small flyer/onsite poster that is attached to all of our shirts/prominently displayed at our table, which explains what the most ethical purchasing options we found were, and the drawbacks to each. This flyer will also ask people if they know of better options – because we are always looking.

    This way, we can get moving with the pretty great options that our friends already found, in small batches, while making it clear that we are going to continually try to find even better options, and what that “better” would even mean to us. I agree that this purchase can be a ‘teaching’ moment – but only if we have shirts on hand to start the conversation – so I hope those uncomfortable with the sourced options will realize that in the spirit of this being a difficult process, we may have to consider this an ongoing process of inquiry – and not something we can figure out all at once.

    • Patty

      I like the idea of making it a “ongoing process”, I’d hate to see this blocked because the factories or assembly we’re looking for isn’t here in the USA. Change can be a process, start as close to the ideal as possible, but start.

  5. Joshua

    From a practical standpoint, a 1000 piece order is not going to influence the manufacturing method decision on the part of a manufacturer who likely produces 100′s of thousands of shirts. I appreciate the sentiment, but reality dictates that profit motive decides current manufacturing operations and there just isn’t a source that meets every standard of production that we’d like to see. Certainly, when placing an order we can offer feedback to the manufacturer but without massive volume it won’t have an impact.
    And “educating the customer” isn’t really applicable here because this isn’t a currency for goods exchange but instead just people making donations. Until there are funds enough to merit setting up our own non-profit shirt manufacturing plant that employs american workers using recycled materials located in manhattan it makes sense to do the best we can in terms of finding a shop that meets as many criteria as possible. If we do nothing because we can’t find the perfect manufacturing scenario, we are relying on folks to go around the corner and buy shirts which are invariably sweatshop, non-usa made, non-eco, etc. Doing some good instead of nothing at all seems like a no-brainer to me.

  6. Jhilton

    @Jesse I agree that the 99% is a global voice not just an American (US) voice. I also believe from experience and as you all say the “whole World is watching”…so how do you set standards of thinking local first and then trying to influence that on a global stage…you take care of what is in your own backyard. @Joshua the orders are small and no this is not going to change a manufacturing practce immediately, but you can help send a message and influence those who can make the same type of choice who can effect significant changes. You don’t have to put another manufacturer out of business by opening your own site, but find ways to help them create change within that businesses…it does happen and there are manufacturers who are trying and the consumer has influence even if they are donating, there is still an exchange and it makes a statement. I still vote for http://ethixmerch.com/ and see if you can get them to work with new materials, perhaps through Playback and see if you influences others by making this decision. It has to start somewhere – getting business to think beyond the profit margins. I thought this was what your philosphies were all about…

  7. LGNY

    This suggestion came via email, so I’m copying it here:
    “Hi,

    I was reading the minutes of the GA meeting of October 30th where you were asking about the types of shirts to buy, organic cotton vs non-organic etc…

    If you really want to be environmentally and socially conscious, the best material to use is Hemp as even organic cotton uses huge amounts of water and land that could otherwise be fertile.

    Hemp on the other hand is very low resource demanding and if done correctly can be used to ameliorate land fertility.

    It might be too late for the 500 T-Shirts that you discussed, but I urge you to keep it in mind for any future purchase.

    I tried to see if anything was on the forums to post, but it wasn’t used… I might create a new post there.

    Thank you for your efforts !

    Peace & Love !

    Fouad”

  8. TheDroid

    Have you heard about 1791.com. I heard they use single-mothers as their workers, pay them well and their products are Made in America. Perhaps you should contact them and see if you can buy some of their blanks.
    You can read more about it here.
    Also, my understanding (according to the article) is the company is a non-profit organization.
    Or perhaps go straight to the source where 1791.com is getting their products (I think it is from here).

    Just a thought.

    TheDroid.

  9. Yoni Miller

    I welcome the discussion of where to buy the shirts from, regardless of how that comes out, I want to wager support for this AMAZING FUNDRAISING INITIATIVE. This is a very very very solid investment, and while people are complaining about how little money we have, this is a solid answer and response!! :D