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Life in Sweatshops By: Emily Gerwin & Jennifer Thomas Sweatshops: By Definition A sweatshop is a workplace where the wages are unacceptable, the hours are far too long, and the working conditions endanger the health and safety of the workers, whether or not laws are being violated.

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life in sweatshops

Life in Sweatshops

By: Emily Gerwin &

Jennifer Thomas

sweatshops by definition
Sweatshops: By Definition
  • A sweatshop is a workplace where the wages are unacceptable, the hours are far too long, and the working conditions endanger the health and safety of the workers, whether or not laws are being violated.
history of sweatshops
History of Sweatshops
  • The idea of a sweatshop came around between 1830 and 1850.
  • Before this, tailors made expensive custom clothing.
  • As the Industrial Revolution made its way, sweatshop production of inexpensive clothing replaced the tailors.
children working in sweatshops
Children Working In Sweatshops
  • Throughout the world, 250 million children between the ages of two and fourteen are employed. One half work full time.
  • Many children work in places where they are exposed to harmful chemicals.
  • In Sri Lanka, more children die from pesticide poisoning than childhood diseases.
how do sweatshops affect the united states
How do sweatshops affect the UnitedStates?
  • Almost half of the toys sold in the United States are made in China. China is well known for its outrageously low wages. Minimum wages are around 80 cents per day.
  • Almost all of soccer balls used in the United States are from foreign countries. Most soccer balls are made in Pakistan, where children may work as many as 12 hours in a day, for very little pay.
  • There are sweatshops in the United States also. One worker in a Los Angeles factory that was making clothes for Guess, was paid only 40 cents for his work on a blouse. A department store in New York sold that blouse for 58 dollars.
  • In Indonesia, minimum wage is $2.36 per day. If Nike took 1% of annual advertising budget which is 280 million dollars. It could bring all of it’s Indonesian workers out of poverty.
  • Haitian worker earn 6 cents for every Disney t-shirt they make. Disney sells the same shirts for 20$.
  • In Salvador, sweatshop workers make twelve cents for sewing a shirt that Gap sells for twenty dollars.
laws regarding sweatshops
A law in New York State prohibits the sale or distribution of sweatshop made clothing. Authorities can stop the distribution of sweatshop made clothes.

The requirements of manual labor are as follows.

A manual worker must be paid weekly.

After working 40 hours, employees must be paid overtime, 1 and ½ times their hourly pay.

The requirements regarding child labor laws are as follows.

Children under the age of 16 cannot work in factories.

The hours of work must be posted for all minors under 18 years of age.

For safety, all fire exits must be clearly marked, accessible, and unlocked.

Laws Regarding Sweatshops
anti sweatshops
  • The earliest sweatshop critics were found in the 19th century movement that was to abolish slavery.
  • Many abolitionists saw slavery and sweatshop work similar.
  • As slavery was successfully outlawed, some abolitionists wanted to expand the anti-slavery consensus.
  • The first major law to address sweatshops was the Factory Act of 1833. It was passed in the United Kingdom, around the same time slavery was outlawed there.
recent anti sweatshop movements
Recent Anti-Sweatshop Movements
  • Both the anti-sweatshop movement and the anti-globalization movement oppose sweatshops.
  • The anti-globalization movement is against multinational corporations moving their company overseas to lower costs and increase profits.
  • Both have accused companies such as, The Gap, Nike, and The Walt Disney Company of using sweatshops.
  • Currently companies in the United States have begun changes.
  • Both New Balance and Gap Inc. have began changing their policies.
  • Wal Mart and Nike are still two of the largest corporate sponsors of sweatshops.
what others are doing
What Others Are Doing
  • The Bonded Labor Liberation Front in Pakistan has opened free primary schools for poor children.
  • Students from Monroe High School in California, organized a resolution for the district to not buy soccer balls from countries that make them in sweatshops and allow child labor.
  • At the end of April 1997, 10,000 workers went on strike at a Nike factory in Indonesia.
  • During the same week 1,300 workers went on strike at a Nike factory in Vietnam.
what we can do
What We Can Do
  • No Sweat Apparel is a company that sells clothing that isn’t made in sweatshops. This company was formed to discourage sweatshop labor. They sell in some small stores across the country. Currently, there is only one store in New York, and that’s in New York City.
  • If we support organizations like that, and try to stop buying clothes from Wal Mart and Nike, we’re already making an impact. Once retailers see how people are against sweatshops, we can slowly stop their sales. If their sales slowly stop, maybe they’ll get the idea that we won’t buy sweatshop made clothing.
how it effects us
How It Effects Us
  • Wal Mart carries decent priced items. That is a major attention grabber for the family shopper.
  • What they don’t see is that the clothes are made in sweatshops, generally by children.
  • Also, Nike is one of the largest sporting equipment brands. Many athletes buy Nike products. Nike has good quality equipment. It’s very disappointing to find out that
  • It’s easy to tell someone that you’ll stop buying a sweatshop made product. It’s not so easy to actually stick with that. What do you do when you find out that nearly half of the stuff you buy is made in sweatshops?
“I will bring the

blind by a way that

they knew not; I will

lead them in paths

that they have not

known” Isaiah 42:16