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Sweat Shops

            Blood, Sweat, and Shears: A Closer Look at Sweatshops.
             How can you tell if the product you are about to purchase was made by a child, by teenaged girls forced to work until midnight seven days a week, or in a sweatshop by workers paid 9
             • an hour? The sad fact is.You cannot. The companies do not want you to know, so they hide their production behind locked factory gates, barbed wire and armed guards. Many multinationals refuse to release to the American people even the list and addresses of the factories they use around the world to make the goods we purchase. The corporations say we have no right to this information. Even the President of the United States could not find out where these companies manufacture their goods. Yet, to shop with our conscience, it is our right to know in which countries and factories, under what human rights conditions, and at what wages the products we purchase are made. This paper will be a behind the scenes look at what really happens behind the closed door of sweatshops.
             The terms "sweatshop- and "sweating- were first used in the 19th century to describe a subcontracting system where the middlemen earned their profit from the margin between the amount they received from a contract and the amount they paid workers. This margin was "sweated- from the workers because they received minimal wages for excessive hours worked under unsanitary conditions (Mason, 33). .
             This concept of sweating comes alive again in today's garment industry which is best described as a pyramid where big-name retailers and brand-name manufacturers contract with sewing shops, who in turn hire garment workers to make the finished product. Retailers and manufacturers at the top of the pyramid dictate how much workers earn in wages by controlling the contract price given to the contractor. With these prices declining each year by as much as 25%, contractors are forced to "sweat- a profit from garment workers by working them long hours at low wages (Mason, 34).

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