Sweatshops in America

Are there still sweatshops in America? Sadly, the answer is yes.

In Breinigsville, Pennsylvania Amazon.com has a major packing and shipping facility. The warehouse is a very important part of Amazon.com’s business because the warehouse “is located within a days drive from a third of the U.S. and Canadian population. It is how Amazon.com can deliver goods so quickly to a huge chunk of the country.” (Tabea, 2012) The warehouse is great for the company, but not so much for its workers. In the summer the temperature of the warehouse soars over 110 degrees. One of the employees quit and describe conditions of “blistering heat, fellow employees passing out, and, to add insult to dangerous heat rash, poor treatment from management.”(Tabea, 2012) The whole time Amazon.com knew of the awful conditions, but instead of trying to fix it, “they arranged to have an ambulance sit outside to treat anyone who fell ill.” (Tabea, 2012)

In New York City, Alexander Wang, fashion designer, was hit with a hefty lawsuit of $50 million. Wenyu Lu used to sew clothes for Alexander Wang, but after working “25 hours continuously without break or overtime pay in an unventilated, windowless part of Wang’s New York City design firm, he was ultimately fired after voicing his complaints to management and filing for worker’s compensation.” (Leake, 2011) In the article, the author makes a very good point, saying that even though clothes have a “Made in the USA” tag; people shouldn’t assume that the workers behind it are working under any better conditions than workers somewhere else.

In one of my previous blogs, 100 years later, has anything changed?, I focused on two sweatshops, one in Manhattan and one in Bangladesh. The one in Manhattan occurred over 100 years ago and the more recent one in Bangladesh. Although, I knew that working conditions in America are not perfect, I didn’t expect them to be as primitive as they are. After all this time it is surprising to me that there are still this many issues with working in America today. Thankfully in the examples I used of the sweatshops today, there were no documented deaths and overall they seem safer than many examples of the past, but that does not mean they are acceptable.

Sweatshops are a reality in America today. They are not as obvious today, because we typically do not see mass casualties or anything of that magnitude. It is important that things continue to improve for America’s workforce and that even the little things do not go unnoticed.

Sources:

Tabea, K. (2012, March 29).Ethical Style: There Are Still Sweatshops in America. Retrieved from http://www.good.is/posts/ethical-style-there-are-still-sweatshops-in-america

Leake, T. (2011, October 11). Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/taylor-leake/sweatshops-in-america_b_983977.html

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