Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Celebrities in the Apparel Industry

Celebrities should take more responsibility for clothing that has their name on it, especially when it comes to the apparel industry. In this video is about Kathy Lee upset that people were accusing her of not caring work sweatshop workers. I don’t see where she doesn’t think it’s her responsibility. Her name is on it and if you’re going to license your name you should research or know what your name is being placed on. Some of the productions of her clothing are made in Honduras. In this video we get to see the treatment of sweatshop workers in El Salvador. The workers in the sweatshops are young teenage women who are taken out of school to work for seventy-eight cents an hour. No one in the production process making American clothing is American. The workers are Salvadorian; the managers are Korean, in a Taiwanese factory, for shirts made out of Hong Kong cotton. Workers in these El Salvadorian are treated just as those in Bangladesh workers; they are beaten by their managers, forced to worker over time, and are mostly women. They work from dawn until night. The intent of globalizing is to build economies and in El Salvador the opening of sweatshops were intended to rebuild the economy after a civil war. From this Dateline video we get to hear stories from sweatshop workers. We get to hear about how a sweatshop here in the U.S. had to close down because they couldn’t compete with overseas sweatshop. The loss of apparel jobs in America left 93,000 Americans out of jobs. Apparel manufacturers are always looking for cheap labor and becoming more competitive for lesser paying opportunities. Salvadorians are being priced out by Honduras workers for thirty-eight cents an hour and Honduras workers are being priced out by Haitian workers for thirty cents an hour.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

In Defense of "Sweatshops" reply

I feel that for this next post it is important for me to talk about my feeling towards my last post. I read an article whose position is in the defense of sweatshops. There were some interesting points that the writer made but I also feel that it’s a wrong stance. The writer is saying that sweatshops are good for third world economies and that the workers are making more than the average. The writer also explains that sweatshops are better than the alternatives that are offered to them. I have a different take on it. I feel that if we promote the acceptance of sweatshops then we’re promoting a trend to potentially take place in the U.S. Sweatshops is a way for the big businesses to get richer and abuse the use of globalizing. No one whether it is inside or outside the U.S. deserves to be treated inhumane. In an earlier posting of mines called “Hidden Faces of Globalization,” you see the treatment of Bangladesh workers and what companies want to keep away from the consumer. Their working conditions were horrific and I would never want to work in such manner. Why would anyone in their right mind believe that this is ok? Yes businesses want to make a profit but not at the expense of lives. Sweatshops take away people’s lives by keeping them in poverty. Even though some sweatshop workers are making more than the national average businesses are still keeping their workers in poverty. Sweatshops are not building the economy its taking away from their freedom. The globalization of companies also hurts U.S. citizens because we’re taking away employment opportunities. I think if we’re going to help another countries economy we need to help ours first. I bet conditions for sweatshop workers would be a lot different if it were here in the U.S. The reason companies globalize is so they can get away with low pay and unfair treatment.

More Sweatshops are Needed, Wrong Answer!

The article that I chose to write about is someone in favor of sweatshops. His name is Benjamin Powell and he is in defense of sweatshops. He believes that we in American society chose not to work in sweatshops because of the working conditions and low pay. In the defense of sweatshops Powell concludes that it’s much better than the alternatives that are offered. He uses an example of children being laid off in Bangladesh and then resulting in prostitution. Powell argues that children workers in Honduras that earn $3.10 a day on a 10 hour shift, should be happy because their alternative would pay less. He says that you can-not compare U.S. alternatives to Honduras alternatives. In his research on alternatives to sweatshop workers, sweatshop workers earn more than the average worker in their country. Then Powell goes on to explain his method of research. The Powell goes on to explain how the methods of anti-sweat shop groups would do nothing to make workers more productive. Workers are at risk of losing more for better treatment. One they can be thrown into worse alternative conditions or laying off workers and lowering wages. So in result for better conditions for sweatshop workers it will worsen their current state. He then goes on to argue the testimonial by Charles Kernaghan on worker’s rights across the world and improving conditions for millions of people. This treatment will create a leveled global economical playing field for American and global workers to compete. Powell believes that sweatshops are not only better than the current worker alternative but they are also the process of development that ultimately raises living standards. He feels that sweatshop companies bring technology and physical capital to workers. They are better off now than before with all the technology and capital offered to them. His closing statement is “what the third world so badly needs is more sweatshop jobs, not fewer.”

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hidden Faces of Globalization

This documentary talks about the mistreatment of sweatshop workers in Bangladesh. These are facts of what we consumers are not aware of because globalizing companies keep it hidden. Most of the workers that you see in this video are women who are overseen by controlling men. The men that supervise the women pressure them to work faster by abusing them verbally and physically. They are treated unequally and work in inhumane environments. The workers work overtime hours but are still not paid enough even and only receive two days off a month. Most of the workers are earning less than five dollars a week. Women who reach the age of thirty-five are often fired because they are seen as useless and then find younger women to replace them. The factories employ tens of thousands of women in the factories. The long hours that the women have to obtain in the factories keeps them away from their families. The work labor is so intense, just to sew a button workers are given 8 seconds per button. Sewing pockets a worker can only spend one minute or sew 60 pockets in an hour. When you watch the video you see how fast that the workers have to move, it looks like the video is on fast forward. There’s really nothing that the workers can do because they can lose their jobs. They cannot even unionize or else they will face punishment, which can also result in prison. The workers are also beaten if they ask about the wages that they are owed. These conditions are unhealthy and keep the workers in poverty. This information that this video displays is what we consumers need to be aware of. Many big companies use this method for their globalizing companies. These are the facts that they don’t want us to see.

Here is the link to the video:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Supportive Blogs on Sweatshops

The blog that I followed had an interesting title. It was “When you think of the face of fashion, is this what comes to mind?” At the bottom of that title was a picture of a young boy making soccer balls in Indonesia. The write wrote about her enlightening of manufacturing slave labor of the company NIKE. She listened to a presentation about sweatshop labor, a man who stayed with co-founder Leslie Kretz in Indonesia on the wages of sweatshop workers. She went on to talk about how she didn’t realize that she was a contributor to the success of companies like Nike, Adidas, Target etc. She found that much of what she owned came from companies that took part in poor treatment of sweatshop workers. Since consumers do not know how products are produced we will keep buying from companies that practice illegal and inhumane labor. She explains that we can-not just stop buying from these companies because the treatment of laborers could worsen but instead we can take do the alternative. She goes on to explain other ways in which we as consumers can stop the success of criminal companies.

· Buy from companies that manufacture in the US

· Fair trade companies she found are and

o The biggest problem with sweatshops is in sneakers and athletic shoes

o Child labor is very common in the shoe industry, New Balance is a good shoe company because they produce ¼ of its footwear products in the US.

o Starbucks does not practice fair trade. Coffee is the second largest import and many farm workers are forced to live in poverty and debt.

· Write to the companies that do practice abuse of sweatshop workers. Let them hear you and feel bad about what they’re doing to their employees.

Here is the link of the blog that I wrote this commentary on:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

"Legalize LA: Deport Illegals!"

Even though American Apparel is changing the industry with fair employee rights and treatment they still face protest against the company. In these video clips below protestors stand outside a downtown LA American Apparel store with signs that say “Legalize LA: Deport Illegals!” American Apparel advertises t-shirts that say Legalize LA. These protestors believe that we should stop letting in illegal immigrants to protect America. The guy holding the camera says we need to stop letting in illegal immigrants and they need to fix their own government. What does this have to do with sweatshops? EVERYTHING! Most of the workers in clothing factories are not US citizens. America just wants to reap the benefits from illegal immigrants but exclude them from having equal rights. “Illegals” are the ones doing all the dirty work. They’re the construction workers, sweatshop workers, garden workers, house keepers, maids, etc. Americans don’t want them here but we want to go to their countries and take advantage of their services for our luxuries. I feel that everyone deserves an equal opportunity. Yes, other countries are corrupt and need to be fixed but what about those that already established a life here? What do we do about families that are spit between illegal immigrants and U.S. citizens? America is supposed to be the land of the free and opportunity. If we really want to go into it everyone but Mexicans and Native Indians are illegal. Europeans stole their land and pushed them further south. If anything they have more ownership then anyone whose ancestors didn’t originate here. Yes we will run into some problems with over population and there does need to be some sort of control over the millions of non U.S. citizens but how do we control that? Comment me and tell me what your stance is and how you think we could better control immigration.

Heres are the urls parts 1-6

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sweatshops with a Conscious

With globalization on the rise sweatshops are almost extinct in the US. When we see tags that say “Made in the US” that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s made in the US. Like when reading the book Selling Women Short, we find out that “Made in the US” really means mad in US territories. Now a new company has set the trend for other companies to follow. American Apparel has become a multi-million dollar company on selling clothing that does not partake in overseas exploitation. American Apparel is mostly known for their fitted t-shirts and also the fact that the clothing is label free. This company states that it’s committed to being a sweatshop free and labor fair company. American Apparel has been receiving positive media and excellent business because it doesn’t exploit overseas labor. This has attracted many consumers and has made American Apparel an ever so growing company. The creator of American Apparel, Dov Charney, states that his factory workers earn on average $12.50, more than the state of California’s minimum wage. I love the new way that this company thinks. American Apparel also provides its factory workers with benefits such as; subsidized private health care, computer classes, discounted bus passes and lunches, free English classes, as well as free on-site massages. It’s not all about profit, it’s about caring for those that work for you and help make the company a success. This is the way that all companies should be. Instead most companies like Coca-Cola, Nike, and Sean Jean enslave their overseas workers with long hours, low pay, and horrible working conditions. I watched a documentary on American Apparel and Charney is a very interesting character. He is very interactive with his workers and also knows many of them by their first names. He seems to care a lot about his workers and their well being. The workers said that they loved the company because it provides them with opportunities. Many of the workers were Spanish speaking employees and they loved the fact that they were provided with English class. This type of company makes it possible for workers to get out of living in poverty and provides better opportunities. Many companies can learn from American Apparel and see that people are becoming more aware of overseas exploitation. Americans are moving towards a greener prospective.
This the American Apparel Store on Broadway over in Seattle.