Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Michael J. Lynch, Ph.D.


Garment workers, State malfeasance, Sweatshops, Occupational injuries and illnesses, Corporate malfeasance


The purpose of this dissertation is to examine both the gendered and racialized nature of workplace risk and compensation in the manufacturing industry of apparel. The author selects this industry because of its low-wage, labor intensive, and "deskilled" work, performed in often unsafe employment environments with minimal governmental regulations and limited unionization. The apparel industry is also characterized by its large percentage of racial and ethnic minorities, especially immigrant employees, that further disadvantage them in terms of communication barriers, threat of deportation, and the multiple and intersecting marginalizations associated with occupying a low-wage, minority and/or immigrant status. The gendered effects of workplace risk are addressed in the garment industry, as women and girls largely comprise these workers. Using governmental data, including Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, the author measures the incidences, rates, and demographic characteristics associated with workplace injuries and illnesses for the years 1993-2002. In addition to occupational injuries and illnesses in these industries, the author examines Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division data to examine the incidences and types of compensation violations from the years 1993-2002. Finally, the author examines the limitations of government safety and compensation regulations and enforcement, and the corrective measures that are needed to uphold and safeguard the occupational health, safety, and compensation rights of these workers.