The true cost of sweatshops

A sweatshop is defined by the U.S. Dept. of Labor as a factory that violates two or more labor laws.

They often have poor working conditions and unfair wages and no benefits for workers — and they often exploit child labor.

Most young adults in the U.S. are accustomed to only hearing of the term “sweatshops” in grade school from history books, but now we are starting to see a reappearance of them in the media due to corporate globalization. Corporate industries are now outsourcing their businesses in order to compete with other countries. With this comes the price of cutting costs such as employee wages and benefits because certain regulations are not as strict in other countries as they are in America.

These practices are especially prevalent in the fashion industry and it is affecting the lives the people in underdeveloped countries. For example:

Workers at a plant in El Salvador say they are frequently required to work mandatory overtime as they sew jerseys for the National Basketball Association, according to the National Labor Committee, an anti-sweatshop group.

This is an example of major corporations taking advantage of factory workers that are willing to be underpaid just to feed their families. The major problem with sweatshops is that corporations feel as if they are giving people jobs that they would not otherwise have, but people need opportunities also. An opportunity would be the ability to grow within the company and the ability to enhance your career based on the chance that was given. However, there is no opportunity given because these corporations are so determined to keep wages low.

Garment workers have tried to fight back by forming unions to demand fair wages and benefits, but corporations almost always crush them. Global Exchange says, “Union organizers have been beaten, thrown in jail, blacklisted, and even killed.” There is no reason for these workers to not be compensated fairly, given the fact that they are responsible for all of our accessories and other items that we use everyday.


By Tyler Jarrett



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