Sweatshops: A GLOBAL CRISIS
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Picture this: Working a 12 hour or more shift, but not being paid overtime, making under a dollar an hour. No breaks. Their lives jeopardized by subpar safety precautions. Picture the tired, calloused, and missing fingers of young children sewing away at threads of clothing, worn by American citizens everyday. They are silenced by intimidation and fear, and their voices are often never heard.
Corporations look for cheap labor while not being tied down to follow basic health and safety procedures. As Americans, we learn about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire in our history books, a horrifying moment in history, yet it inspired the wave of labor unions and worker’s rights. Hypocritically, we are clueless of the many neglected safety precautions that have caused factory fires and collapsed buildings in other countries! It is clear that the lives of workers overseas are viewed as indispensable to both the corporate employers but also our own government, as the Department of Labor recently revised the Fair Labor Standards Act in 2016, explicitly denying the rights expressed in the bill to foreign workers (despite those same workers making products for American companies and citizens). Not only are sweatshops are a violation of basic human rights, but the other unraveling effects of them are often overlooked, and often misunderstood by the general public, such as the economic and environmental issues behind sweatshops. Another spiral effect is that companies seek cheap labor in foreign countries, meaning that products aren’t being made in the United States, and citizens at home are out of jobs, contributing to the dissipation of the American middle class.
It is important to deal with the issue of sweatshops on a global level, in order to reciprocate better circumstances in the United States as well as for sweatshop workers. It should be the case that the Department of Labor takes responsibility for the lives of workers overseas by enforcing, and creating laws that allow fair wages and safe work environments, while legislative and executive branches, such as House Ways and Means Committee and the President, implement tariffs on all imports into the United States to inadvertently incentivize American companies to stay in the country, prohibiting them from exploiting foreign workers and to create manufacturing jobs here in the United States. All the while, emphasizing educating the general public on the horrifying truth behind sweatshops and how to go about initiating some form of action to stop the injustices occurring overseas.
These workers are not indispensable, and they are not that different from us Americans, who similarly, value hard work, and the dream that someone who works day in and day out, should be treated with a fair wage, while being provided with safe and humane working conditions.
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