Sweatshops and Unethical labor Practices
Imagine only seeing your family for one day once a year. Having to compete for a ticket home with millions of other workers in order to see your family that you haven’t seen in a year. This is the life of 130 million migrant workers in china. These workers make most of the things we own. Most of us don’t think about the people who make our clothes, our phones, our computers; items that we use everyday. Our way of life revolves on mass consumerism, where we value the article more than the person or persons who made it. Mass media and multi million dollar industries keep the conditions on how these people work as a total mystery. Some brands have been exposed for sweatshop and unethical labor practices, yet nothing has been done against these companies.
The US Department of Labor defines a sweatshop as any factory that violates two or more labor laws. UNITE, the US garment workers union, defines a “sweatshop” as any factory that does not respect workers’ right to organize an independent union. Global Exchange and other anti-sweatshop movements would add that a sweatshop is any work place that does not pay its workers a Living Wage. Sweatshops violate basic human rights, as stated in The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “ Article 1 – “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Article 5 – “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Article 23 – (2) “Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work,” and (4) “Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his/her interests.” Article 24 – “Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.” All of these are being violated in these sweatshops thought the world where workers are subjected to all types of abuses.
130 million Chinese workers go back home only once a year during Chinese new years; it’s the world’s largest human migration. The film The Last Train Home by Lixin Fan portrays the lives of a couple of Chinese garment workers who work 2100 km away from their family. This couple only sees their children once a year and they spend a large sum of their paycheck to get the train tickets back home.
The factory conditions showed in The Last Train Home are pitiful. Sewing machines are squished together; workers can barely move and have no workspace. The floors are barely visible because they’re filed with fabric scraps. The factory workers that have their children living with them in the factories have to take them to their workspace. There the kids run around the factory, take naps in piles of fabric scraps and trip over things. The workers live in the factories; they’re provided with small rooms divided with fabric. The rooms are filthy and overcrowded. The walls and floors of the small...