A sweatshop is a workplace where workers are subject to extreme exploitation, including the absence of a living wage or benefits, poor working conditions, and arbitrary discipline, such as verbal and physical abuse.
The following are examples of campaigns against sweatshops around the world:
Employees at the Classic clothing factory in Jordan, many of them guest workers from Southeast Asia, report repeated sexual abuse and rape.
“Workers know this. If Anil chooses any woman, she is forced to do this nasty thing. Nobody dares speak about it.”
Garment workers in Bangladesh have been organizing to for better working conditions and a minimum wage.
On February 25, 2010, 21 garment workers on the 6th floor of the Garib & Garib Company factory died of smoke inhalation after a fire broke out on the first floor. The main exit was chained shut, and fire prevention efforts were minimal, recalling the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in New York City in 1911, which killed 146 workers and induced workplace reform in New York state.
“I worked at Eastpoint factory for eight years making Donna Karan jackets with price tags of $6,000. It took a whole day to make one. We Latina workers were the only ones working by hand. They said we would break the machines. They barely paid above minimum wage and did not pay overtime.”
“I think a lot of the perception from people is that sweatshops only occur in other countries,” she says. “We want to let people know that it’s happening in our backyard, and we’re not going to tolerate it.”
Learn more in this online Guide to Ending Sweatshops and Promoting Fair Trade. (PDF)