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Sweat Shops

Page history last edited by Kori Atwood 14 years, 6 months ago



Work environments that possess three major characteristics—long hours, low pay, and unsafe or unhealthy working conditions.”

Boyd Childress





The Problem-  

            People around the world are working in hard conditions. Most do not make enough money to live.  Some work 14 hour days, seven days a week.  Others may get lucky and have a 14 cents an hour wage. Some workers are even under age. "

    " To keep labor costs low, apparel shop owners usually pay workers a "piece rate." That means workers don't get paid by the hour. Rather, their wage is based on the number of items—shirts, shoes and socks—they complete in a shift. If workers hope to earn a decent income, they have to work hard, and they have to work long. Basically, they have to sweat." http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/sweatshops/sweatshopsfaq.html 



Why this is going on-

             People want low cost things.  To get the low cost, you need to have low cost labor.


Pair of pants- http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/47/266.html

Made in the USA                                Made in Nicaragua

Retail price $17.99                                             Retail price $17.99

Average U.S. $8.31/hour                                  Wage in shop(highest)- 43 cent/hour

Sewing time--15 minutes                                  Sewing time--20 minutes

Labor cost--$2.08                                              Labor cost—14cents

($8.31/hr x 15 min = $2.0775)                          ($.43/hr x 20 minutes = $0.143332)

 This shows the making of a pair of pants where and how much it cost.



     There has been reports of verbal, physical and sexual abuse.

      "I spend all day on my feet, working with hot vapor that usually burns my skin, and by the end of the day my arms and shoulders are in pain," a Mexican worker, Alvaro Saavedra Anzures, has told labor rights investigators. "We have to meet the quota of 1,000 pieces per day. That translates to more than a piece every minute. The quota is so high that we cannot even go to the bathroom or drink water or anything for the whole day." http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/sweatshops/sweatshopsfaq.html 


"They Hit You...They Hit You in the Head...To Make You Work Faster," says Nicaraguan Factory Worker Jolena Rodriguez.http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/47/266.html 





Who uses and where-


Wal-Mart-Where there are sweatshops.


Tommy Hilfiger-China.

Liz Claiborne- India(jacket selling-$198.  Manufactured-$.84cents).

Kathie Lee Gifford-China.

There are many more people that use sweatshops and there are other countries that have sweatshops.





Not just third world-

     In 2000 more than half of the sewing shops (22,000) in the U.S broke  the minimum wage and overtime laws.  75% broke the health and safety laws.  Just in Los Angeles 98% of their garment factories violated health and safety standards (blocked fire exits, unsanitary bathrooms and poor ventilation).  The workers are mostly immigrants making about 1/3 of a proper wage.


     85% of sweatshop workers are women between ages 15-25. Because of this, employers often force the women to take birth control (they do routine pregnancy tests) so they do not have to pay for a women to have maternity leave. Women are often fired if they become pregnant.





What people are doing to help-

          One organizations out there that is trying to stop sweatshops is Green America. 


     Here is a website that has many other organizations for the sweatshop cause.



Sweatfree Campaigns

Clean Clothes Campaign

European network of national networks against sweatshops.


Coalition québécoise contre les ateliers de misère

Québec anti-sweatshop coalition based in Montréal.


Co-op America

Empowering consumers and investors to call for an end to sweatshops.


Global Exchange

Sweatfree, Fair Trade, and peace campaigns, speakers, global economy education.


Maquila Solidarity Network (Canada)

Canadian anti-sweatshop network.


Musicians Against Sweatshops

Musicians and fans who are intent on driving sweatshops out

of the music business.


Presbyterian Hunger Program, PC (USA)

Educates people about sweatshops and where to purchase “sweatshop free” clothes.


Progressive Jewish Alliance

Inter-generational membership organization that supports organizing for sweatfree purchasing policies.



Carpet labeling program and rehabilitation centers for former child laborers in India, Pakistan and Nepal.


SweatFree Communities

Nationwide network for local action against sweatshops.


United Students Against Sweatshops

Network of student activists on over 200 campuses organizing

for sweatfree licensing policies.



Teaching resources on sweatshops, child labor, and anti-sweatshop



Worker Rights Consortium

Assists in the enforcement of institutional sweatfree codes of conduct.




What you can do-

     If you want to help, first start small.  Look at the tags on your things, and then do a little research on it.  Try to get clothes that are “organic” or made in the U.S.A (but even then it still might be made in a sweatshop).



Over all what is getting done-

            Even though there are people trying to help, there is only a small dent in getting rid of sweatshops.  People speak out against sweatshops but, the sweatshops have been around for so many years that it will take many more before they disappear.   



















Gap, Wal-Mart, Nike, and Tommy Hilfiger continue to use Sweatshops in Thailand



Weekly News Update on the Americas



Frequently Asked Questions: "Free Trade" and Sweatshops





Feminists Against Sweatshops (http://feminist.org/other/sweatshops/sweatfaq.html )







Green America (http://www.greenamericatoday.org/programs/sweatshops/whattoknow.cfm)




Here are stories to read for more information-


Secrets, Lies, and Sweatshops













Comments (1)

Kori Atwood said

at 12:38 pm on Sep 25, 2009

You have not explained the problem. How do sweatshops affect the individuals who work there? Which of their rights are being violated? You have names of orgaiztions that try to help but nothing about what they do.

You don't have permission to comment on this page.