Tuesday, July 8, 2008

No Sweat

It’s time for new jeans.

I will most likely just hit up some of the wonderful consignment shops in the city until I find a good pair. Yesterday I decided to browse the web for some sweat-shop free, made in the USA jeans. There are a few options. Not many.

Then I got to thinking…

I mean, let’s consider this- I actually have to search high and low just to find a pair of jeans made in the US by someone who was paid fairly. We are living in a world where finding products like this is difficult!

Does anyone else find that, oh I don’t know, DISTURBING?!

Actually- that’s the problem; very few people actually DO find that disturbing. Very few people know and/or care to learn about the how when it comes to our “stuff”.

This information is courtesy of sweatshopwatch.org:

A sweatshop is a workplace that violates the law and where workers are subject to:

  • Extreme exploitation, including absence of a living wage or long work hours.
  • Poor working conditions, health and safety hazards.
  • Arbitrary discipline, such as verbal or physical abuse.
  • Fear and intimidation when they speak out, organize or attempt to form a union.

With tens of thousands of garment factories employing tens of millions of workers in nearly 200 countries, large corporations search the world for the lowest labor costs and ignore human rights. Unfortunately, sweatshops exist in every corner of the world, from China to Mexico and Kenya to Turkey. These workplaces generally pay poverty wages, force long hours, employ child laborers, deny workers the right to form a union, fire women who become pregnant or subject workers to dangerous conditions. Even in the U.S., sweatshops exist. The U.S. Department of Labor found that 67 percent of Los Angeles garment factories do not pay workers minimum wage or overtime.

…there’s a lot more where that came from.

Gap, Abercrombie, Forever 21, Bebe, J. Crew, Banana Republic etc. Pretty much every mainstream clothing company partakes in sweatshop labor. Troublesome, huh?

Maybe if the next time someone wanted to go out and by a new, cute top, they had to see where the top came from, who made it and how this individual was treated they might reconsider contributing to that industry. Just a thought.

If more people knew and cared about these facts, it’d be much easier to find an ethically produced pair of jeans. Ignorance may be bliss, but it’s still ignorance.



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3 comments:

Warren said...

Yes, it is disturbing. The hardest part is realizing what is going on and pretty much being looked at as a freak for caring. People that I know, for the most part, are in the ignorance is bliss mode. Don't know, don't care, it's cheap, let's buy it. I hope that things will change but can't really see that it can unless we all start caring. It is hard enough for those that do care to try to buy responsibly. BTW, where did you get your jeans?

tom cilek said...

katie:

concerning volunteering down south, i would very much like to go. even though the flood of iowa city and coralville was very miniscule compared to katrina, i have a whole new appreciation. it's such a wake up call when you start losing things to natural disaster (thankfully not life). your latest "no sweat" entry is a huge wake up call. i like your entries because they're so conscious minded. i hope you blog more. -t

Bungi said...

It was just yesterday some three of us were talking about this. I come from a town where quite a few of these major brands are manufactured... And how some of the work involves all the stuff you had mentioned...

Affluence for somebody always comes at the cost of livelihood for somebody else...

And i am glad there are people that are even beginning to look at the 'how' of things...

Keep writing!