Sweatshops Essay

1386 words - 6 pages

Written over 50 years ago, was a declaration made, promising equality and fair treatment for the working, which unfortunately turned out to be a false promise for some. The people I speak of, are our fellow human beings working in slave-like conditions called sweatshops. Sweatshops have always been prevalent in society, this can be shown by looking at the history of sweatshops. Presently organizations are failing in there strive to end sweatshops, companies are failing to abide by the moral code (apparel industry code), there is an ever growing gap between rich and poor, and consumers are continuing to buy the companies products and remain unaware.

     Sweatshop is a term for makeshift factories where poverty-stricken people- mostly women and children- work at top speed for 12 or more hours a day in an effort to earn a living wage (library). Often called the sweating system, which began when the factory system developed in the early 1800’s. Factories were not always large enough to house all the workers, instead the owners would sublet contracts for part of the work. Then the other subcontractors set up makeshift factories in dimly lighted, poorly ventilated buildings. They hired workers for low wages and long hours on a work when needed basis. Americans began to object to this almost right away, as early as the 1830’s. In 1880, large numbers of immigrants began to come to America, and the problem became serious. The owners of sweatshops took advantage of the immigrants’ ignorance and poverty to get them to work for low wages. During the 1900’s, many states began to pass laws prohibiting products from being manufactured under sweatshop conditions. A fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in 1911, in which 146 women died, urged many states to pass anti-sweatshop laws. States then began passing laws on wages, hours, child labor, making it impractical for factories to sublet work. Sweatshops became illegal in most countries. But not all, such as Asia and Africa, the less developed countries .

     There are many organizations out there trying to put a stop to sweatshops. Organizations such as MOJO, co-op America, HRWF (Human Rights For Workers), Feminists against sweatshops, UNITE, No Sweat, USAS. This is only a small fraction of the organizations trying to put a stop to sweatshops. MOJO, co-op America and HRWF have posted web sites, and held campaigns to ban sweatshops. All these organizations try to make the public aware and more informed, rather then take the initiative to do anything specific about the problem. Feminists against sweatshops focus more on women in sweatshops, than child labor. UNITE is helping workers form unions to get the fair labor conditions they deserve. Making their own union, UNITE already has over 500 members who are fighting for better wages, decent conditions and other rights. They have rallied for things like “The New York City Council passes anti-sweatshop...

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