Anti-Sweatshop [Old]

Two decades after overseas sweatshop conditions first hit national headlines, garment factory conditions have become worse than ever. In Cambodia, workers earn so little they cannot afford basic nutrition and are fainting en masse in factories producing for billionaire apparel corporations like adidas. In Bangladesh, 500 workers in the last five years have died in preventable factory fires while sewing garments for companies like The GAP. In Nicaragua, workers are systematically fired for exercising their protected right to form unions, and in Indonesia, workers are falling deeper and deeper into debt as greedy companies like adidas refuse to pay them what they’re legally owed after their union factories illegally shut down.

But there’s a solution – just in December, the U.S. Department of Justice gave us the green light to demand multinational corporations put an end to their out of control sweatshop practices, and it affirmed that Universities can in fact demand multinational apparel corporations making college-logo apparel to keep production in factories that actually respect workers’ basic rights to form a union and earn living wages, enshrined through a proposal students and workers made 7 years ago called the Designated Suppliers Program.

We know the last thing greedy apparel companies want is to respect workers’ rights to unionize and share their billions in profits by paying their workers living wages. This is the beginning of a tough fight  in solidarity with garment workers around the world risking their lives and their jobs for better conditions.

That’s why, this summer, 12 students, as part of the USAS International Team, will be dispatched to garment-producing countries to document garment workers’ conditions, learn from, and develop stronger ties with sweatshop workers fighting for dignified working conditions and their right to form a union. USAS activists will be placed with unions and workers’ rights organizations across the Americas, Asia, and Europe, and they’ll hit the ground running igniting on-campus campaigns in the Fall.

Read more about the USAS International Team representatives here, and support the global labor movement by making a donation to the USAS International Team Fund here.


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