- Slides: 24
Overview of Topics • • • General Questions about Sweatshops Case Study Companies involved with Sweatshops Fighting Back: Anti Sweatshop Organizations Relating to Labour Studies
What is a Sweatshop? • • Employer that violates more than one labour law Factory where workers are subject to extreme exploitation, including low wages, no benefits, filthy and/or dangerous working conditions, denial of their worker and human rights.
Where Do They Exist? • All over the world • Most found in severely undeveloped countries • Some found in Underground operations right here in the US.
Why Do They Exist? • • • Corporate greed. Global competition to produce goods at lowest price. It’s cost effective for corporations to subcontract their manufacturing to suppliers.
Who Works There? • • • Mostly young women ages 14 – 30 Women make up more than 90% of factory job in poor countries Children are often hired as well (as young as 8 years old).
A sweatshop in Bangladesh
Conditions Workers Face • • Routinely abused 14 hour days, 7 days a week Mandatory 19 hour all night shifts at least once a week Payment usually 2 weeks late Legal maternity benefits denied Forced to work 35 to 42 hours of overtime in a week. No place to eat, drinking water is filthy Up to 100 hours in a week
Abusive Conditions • • • Workers pay is docked 2 days if supervisors authority is challenged Women denied maternity benefits No health insurance, sick days, minimal aid No speaking during work Attempt to exercise legal right= mass beatings and firings
Living Conditions for a Disney Worker • • Can only afford to rent a tiny one room hut with 4 other workers One outhouse and water pump is shared between 60 other people Live off of rice, 3 times a day Only 4 to 5 hours of sleep before work begins again
Niagra Textiles Ltd. • • • A seven floor factory A Company Disney subcontracts to make their merchandise. Why? To avoid direct connection to the sweatshop Approximately 60% women workers Approximately 85% of workers are aged 16 -25
Worker Wages • • Sewers earn 11 to 20 cents / hour Helpers earn 7 -8 cents / hour Workers usually are cheated of their pay Routinely paid late
Typical Shift for a Worker • 8: 00 am to 1: 00 pm (work for 5 hours) • 1: 00 pm to 2: 00 pm (lunch break) • 2: 00 pm to 5: 00 pm (work for 3 hours) • 5: 00 pm to 10: 00 pm (work 5 hours overtime)
Other Companies • • • Nike, Adidas, Puma Reebok, Fila Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Wal-Mart, JC Penny Levi Strauss Dell, Apple, Hewlett - Packard
Fighting Back • International Labour Organization (ILO) o o • UN agency seeks social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights. Sweatshop Watch o coalition committed to eliminating the exploitation that occurs and the illegal and inhumane conditions that characterize sweatshops.
Tying in With Labour Studies • Classes and Divisions of the Workforce • The severe challenges of Unionizing • Post Fordism • Labour Equality • Globalization