DOL Grants $2 Million To Implement Better Work Nicaragua Program

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) Bureau of International Labor Affairs has awarded a $2
million grant to the International Labor Organization (ILO) to implement a Better Work program in

Developed by the ILO and the International Finance Corp., Better Work has as its goal the
improvement of labor conditions within global supply chains, with an emphasis on protecting
workers’ rights and increasing businesses’ competitiveness.

“Better Work is a highly successful strategy that was first developed in Cambodia 10 years
ago,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Its elements are worth replicating in other
countries as a means of protecting workers’ rights while promoting development. Nicaragua joins
those countries that embrace what is considered a gold standard for the respect of labor rights in
the garment sector.”

In Nicaragua, the program will target labor standards compliance in the apparel manufacturing
sector. The country ranks 13th in size as a supplier of apparel products to the United States,
according to the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), Arlington, Va., which hailed
DOL’s announcement.

“The outcome of this Better Work program is a win-win,” said Steve Lamar, executive vice
president, AAFA. “This grant will not only help improve the lives of garment workers in Nicaragua
but will, in turn, help create jobs for U.S. workers in the U.S. textile and apparel industry.”

The Nicaragua program has received support from major brands including Columbia Sportswear,
Fishman & Tobin, Gap Inc., Gildan, Levi Straus & Co., Sears Corp., Target Corp., Walmart
and VF Corp.

October 12, 2010