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Millions of people worldwide work in assembly factories that produce a growing proportion of the world's consumer products. Such as Target or WalMart where all items of clothing that are sold, none of which that were made in America are produced in factories whose conditions most Americans would consider utterly disgusting. The factories from these companies aforementioned are run off the money of American corporations, which in turn are supported by the American consumer. These companies that use foreign labor violate the basic human rights of a living wage and decent working conditions. In America there are standards that are set for human rights and much is done to ensure that people are treated with dignity. The department of labor for the United States enforces the Fair labor act which sets basic minimum wage and overtime standards. The department of labors' hour and wage division enforces these standards. Workers that are covered by the F.l.S.A.-are entitled to a minimum wage but not less than 7.25 per hour. Set July 24th 2009 and also are required to receive one and one half times the regular rate of pay is to be compensated to the worker for any hours over 40 for one weeks worth of work. (www.U.S.Department Of Labor). Sweatshops that produce American products for profitable margins must be ran by a very, very strong tyrant with characteristics that we as Americans would greatly disapprove in a human being! All of the monetary gain and political stature for sure comes from America. Yet, how is America communicating with foreign political leaders that provide this employment for their workers and who is enforcing these labor and wage conditions and negotiating these deals with the other countries? Theses question cannot be found with out deep investigation, investigation that I'm not capable of and not to mention that I was unable to find in addition, for every law there is a loophole that is always found, to discourage companies to follow laws and U.S policies for financial gain. What we do not know is how many of these people are induced into hard labor, over worked, underpaid and treated unfairly and inhumane. "Young women in Bangladesh work: 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. 12-1/2 hour shifts. Such of which are "pregnant women" which are forced to work for 15.25$ a month, up until eight and a half months of pregnancy, which is right before giving birth, in a sweatshop that provides clothing for Nike and WalMart. (Ross 56) These women put in long hours seven days a week and are paid between 9 and 20 cents an hour" (Ross p-77). "These women are also denied health care and maternity leave. These workers are extremely pressured to meet harsh deadlines with monitored bathroom visits. The workers in these sweatshops have learned not to speak their mine ultimately they know they will be fired for daring to complain or ask for their rights" (Ross p-2). This is why sweatshops should be banned from making American products. Individuals are treated unfairly and are almost forced into these working conditions.
The lives of these unfortunate men and women have little to no opportunity for change, with little chance or probably none at all, to organize their families or living conditions. For these individuals that work in foreign sweatshops that produce American clothing they have no labor unions nor do they have labor laws that protect these individuals from these conditions. Labor laws that are required would be to work extremely long days in conditions that Americans would disapprove of. So in retrospect of our labor laws factories in foreign counties do not abide by what we set as a standard for Americans.
Robert Ross explains how foreign labor workers are being exploited; to work long hours for little pay and suffer from chronic illnesses due to these harsh working conditions, such as respiratory problems, rashes, headaches and repetitive stress injuries. (Pg-2) In class, I have learned that in the days before America was founded, the colonies of the U.S. were being exploited by Great Britain though higher tax rates on items such as tea, so that the British could make the highest profit possible. The U.S. rebelled against this and separated them from Britain. The Declaration of Independence declares American Independence and says "all men are created equal" showing that they believed people should not be exploited for the sake of others. This has been such an important statement and so many laws have been created to ensure this statement is followed, such as, but not limited to; immigration laws, government assistance, civil rights and civil liberties etc. Yet, the U.S. seems to be exploiting those "foreigners" outside the borders in a similar fashion. If something such as the quality of human life were true within the American borders, would it not also be true outside as well? In most cases it may not be the U.S. business, on how other countries treat their people, but it is when U.S. corporations are profiting off of relaxed labor laws and even pressuring government to relax those laws further. The factories where these people work do not live up to this standard of being created equal. This is why sweatshops should not be allowed for production of American products, because foreign workers are treated inhumane and paid unfairly. America should ban all foreign sweatshops or incorporate legitimate labor laws, conditions and wages; otherwise the American government should tax the corporations that have foreign workers so that they can help rebuild our economy!
Sweatshops' not only are in foreign countries, make no mistake they are here as well, in the United States!
"Conditions for apparel workers in America in New York City were described as dark, humid stuffy basements on Division Street. Women and children at the age of eight far from well were sweating their lives away in these inhumane conditions for next to nothing."(Ross 19) Most people would be surprised and astonished, to learn that the sweatshops-along with all of its cruel and inhumane conditions-has and still is, abusing and exploiting human workers, mainly foreign immigrants, from other countries as well as in America in exchange for vast monetary profit margins for corporations, that supply goods to the American consumers' of the United States. We have heard stories about the sweatshop in other countries around the world. Sweatshops slowly became prevailing after almost 40 years of withdraw because of the unregulated nature of trade-that protects the rights of investors but not those of workers. "As the fashion industry increased in the mid 1990's a substantial amount of fashion lines were being developed as well as the greed, to make profit by cutting production cost in third world countries as well as America." (Ross Robert J.S. p-89) How much do we know about where our clothes come from? Take a look at the labels in the clothes you're wearing today! Can you imagine what life is like for the people who make your T-shirts, jeans and underwear? The reality is often harsh. Many of the clothes we buy on the high street are made in sweatshops, where workers receive low wages, work in poor conditions and have no rights.
Products produced by workers who are paid less than a specified minimum wage takes place all over the globe. We all disapprove of the conditions in which so many on this planet work and the insignificant compensation they receive. And yet there is some moral factor to the concern that as long as the workers are voluntarily employed, they have chosen to work because they are working to their best option. Is narrowing an individual's set of choices an act of respect, of charity, or even of concern? One of the things that are very bothersome is how the faith about market mechanisms is the idea that there is something wrong with a system where we are able to buy bread only because of the greed or profit motive of the people who make the bread. We all have only so much. We all have only so much belief that acting for the benefit of others is right and good! If individuals in these markets and corporations thought like this we wouldn't have so many global sweatshops. Unfortunately, only small amounts of the world's population act on this belief, as a valuable and rare good that needs conserving. It would be wonderful if as people we could use this act of good and conserve it by designing a system in which people's wants will be satisfied by individuals being selfish, and saving that altruism for our families, our friends, and the many social problems in this world that markets cannot solve. This is not just a generalized idea. Is it worth some thought to you? Loose law enforcement and the change of laws and cultures have weakened labor unions. "Women's campaigns revealed the need to put caps on corporate greed and institute a more equitable redistribution of wealth within the industry pyramid. They demanded that bosses modified their behavior by first respecting the human rights of the workers." (Louie. Miriam Ching, Yoon p-250).
As we work for an end to sweatshops, we are demanding that these companies improve the conditions, wages, and opportunities in their factories. If truth be told, the goal is NOT to close sweatshops and put already unfortunate people out on the streets. What we want is a complete turnaround-from sweatshops to responsible workplaces. Sweatshops have unbelievably low wages and poor working conditions by western standards. However, these corporations point out that alternatives to working in a sweatshop are often much worse; often times scavenging through trash, prostitution, crime, or even starvation are the other choices workers face.
Not only are some of the workers forced to believe this is what they will become, on the other hand these big businesses also tell their investors that these are the conditions that these less fortunate people face. The clothes we wear make us walking evidence of 21st century forced labor, with the vast majority of textiles being produced by workers not getting paid enough, in bad conditions, with little protection and even fewer rights (Ross 79). Men, women and children are affected. From the entire cities of low-wage factories scattered across China to the thousands of Mexican women working in cheap labor factories just south of the US border, sweatshops are the default setting for clothes production.
The rise in the price making power of the retail chains, like Wal-Mart where about one-fifth of US clothing is bought-all these pressures are pointed directly at vulnerable parts of the working class.
Over one half of manufacturing firms in southern California in the mid 1990s were subjected to violations in multiple labor laws, monetary and environmental laws. Estimated number of apparel workers in the region run between 120,000 - and - 150,000. This estimate states that 70,000 to 90,000 workers labor in sweatshop conditions in Southern California. (Ross Robert J.S. p-32)
Inevitably, we as an American consumer can stop buying these products that encourage sweatshop conditions, yet the effort lacks within the people to organize such a tremendous task. The corporations that contribute a large amount of clothing apparel to be produced in other countries for wages next to nothing and working conditions that are volatile and inhumane should be giving these employees at least minimum wage. Their efforts seem less and less the more they capitalize over the clothing and textile industries. They will continue to keep modern day slavery until a member or members of the political parties in our country enforce laws against this immoral, injustice, and unacceptable way to capitalize on profit at the expense of less fortunate individuals that do not have a alternative.