Goods made in China by the Huffy Corporation should be included in the General Accounting Office (GAO) investigation of US Army and Air Force Exchange service purchases from sweatshops in Nicaragua say The United Steelworkers of America (USWA).

The USWA called for the investigation, which was launched earlier this week, to be expanded after it was revealed that Government services were purchasing goods from a Huffy Corporation plant in China, as well as from the Chentex facility in Nicaragua.

Huffy Corporation shut down its last American production facility plant in Celina, Ohio back in 1999 - a factor that has outraged the members of the USWA, who opposed Permanent Normal Trade with China.

United Steelworkers of America president, George Becker said: "Our own government is now using American tax dollars to enrich a company that abandoned highly productive American workers in favor of paying dirt-cheap wages to oppressed Chinese workers".

The investigation into the Pentagon's purchases from the Chentex plant in Nicaragua is already underway and has already revealed poverty among the workers.

"We learned first hand," Becker said, "that the Chentex workers can't meet basic physical needs, much less feed their families on their wages, even though they're forced to work long overtime hours every week."

The Pentagon is one of Chentex's biggest customers and increased the levels of its purchases despite the news that workers had been fired for trying to form a workers union.

The steelworkers have been campaigning for the US government to support companies that recognise worker rights, women's rights and human rights, and to ban purchases from organisations that profit from sweatshop labour.

Protests in the US have been building against sweatshop-made goods. Recent demonstrations against Kohl's have seen students, Steelworkers and other union members and community activists take the cause against sweatshop goods to the public. Chentex workers are paid just 20 cents to make a pair of jeans that sell for $30. They were asking for a raise of only eight cents a pair.