The group La Alameda from Argentina and Dignity Returns from Thailand are beginning to sell thousands of T-shirts as a way to support and improve working standards for many employees in textile factories. “It’s a way to prove that high quality clothing can be produced without having to enslave workers,” said one of the initiatives promoters Gustavo Vera of La Alameda.
La Alameda received repeated complaints about the dismal working conditions at these sweatshops; for example, laborers spend long days working without rest in overcrowded spaces where they also live with their families. Many of the laborers are undocumented immigrants who don’t have documents or money and have little freedom to go outside the premises of the factory buildings where they work and reside.
The factories make clothing for brands such as Puma, Soho, Nike, Gap and Reebok where employees are forced to work long hours with little pay. In fact, these workers wages were docked if they complained about being too tired or fatigued from work. What’s more, in Argentina six people died in a fatal accident at one of the sweatshops, five of whom were children. Authorities have taken some of the machinery away from such workshops, however they have yet to sentence those responsible for such actions against their workers.
Another instance of injustice occurred in Thailand when a group of women were laid off without compensation by the Bed and Bath company after their factory got shut down. The aim of the two groups is to not only launch a brand of “clean” clothing, but to call attention to the need for industrial factories to respect the dignity of their employees.
Title: “Thai, Argentine Textile Workers Unite Against Slave Labour.”
Author: Marcela Valente.
Source: Inter Press Service.
Student Researcher: Camille Avis. Sonoma State University
Faculty Advisor: Jeffery Baldwin, Sonoma State University