Rebecca Johns, Ph.D.
Raymond 0. Arsenault, Ph.D.
Jay Sokolovsky, Ph.D.
University of South Florida St. Petersburg
Finding out the truth can hurt to the depths of one's soul. Proud American citizens have recently learned the truth of the re-emergence of sweatshops from New York to California. It can be difficult to grasp the idea that everyday in the United States people are working for far less than minimum wage in deplorable conditions. After all, American politicians frequently give advice to Third World countries on how to set up labor laws and establish safe working conditions. There are several reasons for the re-emergence of sweatshops globally. The competition for work has caused wages to decrease at a shocking rate. Workers in different countries are pitted against each other by large retailers and manufacturers. Third World garment workers, and many American garment workers are living similar lifestyles. They sew a variety of patterns for famous designers and private store labels, while the patterns of their lives remain unchanged. For some, the noise of sewing machines drowns away hopes for a better future. Many garment workers around the world suffer in silence. Poverty, high rates of unemployment, and fear of factory owners are some of the reasons why they do not speak out and seek help from others in positions of power. Factory owners keep the general public in the dark about sweatshops conditions. These factory owners fear that if the public discovers the conditions of garment workers they will boycott those products. Locations of sweatshops often escape notice because they are often set up in abandoned buildings and older apartment buildings. However, some progress is being made. Lawsuits are forcing the United States government to take action. The purpose of this paper is to examine why sweatshops have re-emerged globally and what strategies are being utilized to help garment workers worldwide in their struggle for decent wages and to be treated like human beings.
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Neidholt, Wyndy, "The Garment Industry's Best Kept Secret : Contuined Global Expansions of Sweatshops" (2001). USF St. Petersburg campus Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate).