When most people hear the word sweatshop, they think of it as a thing of the past. Unfortunately, as we enter a new millennium we are taking these sweatshops with us. In recent decades, many garment manufacturers have moved overseas. Companies such as Nike, Walt Disney and Esprit have factories out side of the United States. Workers routinely make less than a living wage, working under extremely degrading and oppressive conditions.
The best way to help stop these sweat shops is to educate and organize. The more people know about the conditions in which their clothes are made, the more we can come together and put an end to this so sweatshops will someday become a thing of the past.
One organization that students can join is the United Students Against Sweatshops. The USAS is an organization of students and community members at over 200 campuses. They are part of a movement that supports the struggles of working people, and started to demand that their universities take responsibility for the conditions under which their licensed apparel is made by adopting the Code of Conduct to regulate the behavior of their manufactures. The Code of Conduct has three basic principles: full public disclosure, a living wage provision and a provision for women's rights.
The United Students Against Sweatshops have yearly campaigns and conferences where students are made aware of what companies have changed for the better and what companies have remained the same or worsen. The United Students Against Sweatshops have spread to over 100 campuses across the United States and Canada and have raised awareness about sweatshop issues. USAS have developed principles of unity, which bring students on campuses and across North America together to create a united front against sweatshops. The basic points of these principles are to.
Work in solidarity with working people's struggles.
Work against racism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of oppression within our society.