- A sweatshop is defined by the U.S. Department of Labor as a factory that violates 2 or more labor laws.
- Sweatshops often have poor working conditions, unfair wages, unreasonable hours, child labor, and a lack of benefits for workers.
- In developing countries, an estimated 250 million children ages 5-14 are forced to work.
- America has stronger labor laws than most undeveloped countries, but it is not free of sweatshops. Many slip under the radar of the U.S.Department of Labor.
- Products that commonly come from sweatshops are shoes, clothing, rugs, coffee, chocolate, toys, and bananas.
- A study showed that doubling the salary of sweatshop workers would only increase the consumer cost of an item by 1.8 percent, while consumers would be willing to pay 15 percent more to know a product did not come from a sweatshop.
- Sweatshops do not alleviate poverty. The people who are forced to work must spend the majority of their paycheck on food for their families to survive.
- According to the National Labor Committee, women sewing NBA jerseys make 24 cents per garment that will eventually sell for $140.
- Men and women alike are subjected to verbal, physical, and sexual abuse in factories from their managers and supervisors. They are sometimes trapped in the factory and forced to work overnight or across multiple shifts.
- In 2000, more than 11,000 sweatshops in the U.S. violated the minimum wage and overtime laws, while over 16,000 had broken health and safety laws.
- Because women make up 85-90 percent of sweatshop workers, employers force them to take birth control and routine pregnancy tests to avoid supporting maternity leave or providing appropriate health benefits.
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Sources: Green America, Vegan Peace, Feminist Majority Foundation