Letter to the Editor: Apparel politics

University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg claims that GW apparel is not the product of sweatshop labor. He bases his claim on the Follett and Collegiate codes of conduct. This is very reassuring until you read these codes of conduct. For the key issues (e.g. livable wages, safe workplace, maximum number of hours of work per day), they rely on “local law” or local “prevailing standards.”

My response at the anti-sweatshop rally in front of Rice Hall last week was, “Well, duh!” Where do you suppose the sweatshop criminals set up operations – Western Europe? No, they pick capital friendly countries that encourage the neo-slavery called sweatshops. I salute the students who have forced the dirty secret of sweatshops into our awareness. Now let’s cut the bull and join the Workers Rights Consortium.

We may find the GW suppliers are all in Norway or that they ignore “local” law and “prevailing” standards in order to pay livable wages, refrain from poisoning the workers for a couple of dollars more and keep work under 60 hours a week. If not, then we can act to end the abomination.

-Thomas J. Nagy
business professor

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