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:
During the “busy season” in China, three million toy workerso mostly young womeno will be locked inside 2,800 factories. They will be forced to work 15 hours a day, seven days a week, thirty days a month, handling toxic chemicals with their bare hands, while they are paid wages as low as 12 cents an hour making toys
Read more about NLC campaigns.
“In order to get a job in a factory, women must often reveal whether they are pregnant, either through questions on job applications, in interviews, or through physical examinations. Workers who become pregnant after being hired are often denied the full range of maternity benefits provided for in Guatemalan law.”
Read Guatemala: Women and Girls Face Job Discrimination: U.S. Companies Contract With Abusive “Maquilas” (Human Rights Watch press release, February 12, 2002).
Learn more in the From the Household to the Factory: Sex Discrimination in the Guatemalan Labor Force (Human Rights Watch Report, January 2002).
“I have a son. He was five years old when I came here. He’s nine now. He doesn’t remember what I look like. I really want to go back to see him, but I haven’t earned enough money. I’d be embarrassed to return to my parents and relatives now. But I miss him badly. Every mother feels the same way.”
Read about Sweatshops in Saipan, the only U.S. territory exempt from labor and immigration laws: Behind the Labels: Garment Workers on U.S. Saipan (2001)
“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.”
Learn about SWEATSHOP WATCH, a coalition committed to eliminating sweatshop conditions in the global garment industry.
“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.