The Price of Cheap Labor: Exploitation in Sweatshops

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Exploitation in Sweatshops U.S. companies hoping to lower costs and increase production is resulting in exploitation of laborers, in factories around the world, who are working for extremely low pay and in substandard conditions. Factories that fail to offer their employees fair working conditions, living wages, and those that utilize child labor can be considered sweatshops. There are differing opinions about who should be held responsible for the conditions in these factories and also what should be done about the factories identified as sweatshops. But, there does seem to be an overall consensus that, as a human rights issue, some sort of change needs to be made to ensure the safety and welfare of these workers. Sweatshops Many companies outsource their manufacturing to other countries where they are able to find factories offering cheaper labor. However, many of these factories, usually in Third World countries, don’t have the same standards for their workers that we are accustomed to in the United States. Products that commonly come from these sweatshops include clothing, shoes and rugs. Sweatshops lack employee benefits and are extremely low paying with employees usually not even being paid enough to meet basic needs such as food and shelter. Employees working in sweatshops can face long working hours with forced overtime, low wages, can be subjected to verbal or physical abuse, crowded rooms with poor ventilation, and unsafe buildings. Workers are usually coerced against or prevented from joining unions as well. A recent example of treatment of factory employees is the building collapse of a Bangladesh factory on April 24, 2013. Some of the items being produced in this factory were clothing for Benetton and The Children’s... ... middle of paper ... ...o jobs in the new service economy, and are having a difficult time finding work. And to make matters even worse, if they are able to find jobs in the service industry, they are usually lower paying than the jobs they lost in manufacturing (Hodson & Sullivan, 2012). Works Cited UNICEF (n.d.). Children Pay High Price for Cheap Labour. Retrieved from Hodson, R., & Sullivan, T.A. (2012). The Social Organization of Work (5th Ed.). Cengage Publishing. Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights (2013). Factory Collapse in Bangladesh. Retrieved from World Fair Trade Organization (2013). 10 Principles of Fair Trade. Retrieved from
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