Sweatshops AMANDA ALPHS, RYAN BUTCHER, CHRISTINA EVANS, KRISTEN HALLSTROM, MITCH KLOOZ, MARY PRIDEMORE, AND ADRIANNA SANTOS

Introduction

• Throughout our case study our worker safety and factory conditions are a major concern in third world countries

• There is not a set code of conduct or minimum wage in these factories

• Child labor is also being utilized throughout these factories

• Safety procedures are not being taken while handling various supplies

Background

What makes a sweatshop a sweatshop?

A very high level of competition for your job

Niclas Berggrena and Therese Nilssona call the 21st century an “era of globalization

Past scandals

Context

2012 Tazreen Fashions Incident

“I didn’t jump to save my life, I jumped to save my body, because if I stayed inside the factory I would burn to ash, and my family wouldn’t be able to identify my body.” -Sumi Abedin, Survivor
"'Mom,' he cried, 'it will be my last call—I’m dying for sure. I am sorry. I tried my best. I cannot breathe… I’m removing my shirt from my body, and I will tie it to my waist, so you can find me.' So he ripped off his shirt, made a knot around his torso, and collapsed so as to be found the next day by his mother.'" -24-year-old garment worker

2013 Horrific Collapse of Rana Plaza

When tragedies such as the collapse of Rana Plaza and the Tazreen fire occur, should companies that manufacture their products in these factories be held accountable?

Ethical Analysis

• The ethical situation of sweatshops lies with continued globalization within the business and economic realms has created both opportunity and dilemma.

• Globalization, defined by Lewis A. Myers, Jr. (2014), is “a multidimensional set of social processes that create, multiply, stretch, and intensify worldwide social interdependencies and exchanges”.

• As globalization continues to increase, many companies, corporations, and organizations are faced with what could be described as an ethical dilemma.

Ethical Situation

• In comparison with the labor laws designed to protect employees and the relative-wealth of citizens within the United States, factories in developing nations such as India, Indonesia, and Guatemala are a stark comparison.

• Usually, the wages in these developing countries are minimal and would not be considered a “livable wage” in the United States. Labor conditions are often extremely poor.

• The hours are long and can sometimes reach 15-hour workdays. Proper or precautionary safety measures are ignored, and the labor is physically demanding, sometimes resulting in irreversible health conditions (Powell, 2014).

• This makes it very difficult for employees to stay out of poverty even when they are working more hours than typical Americans.

What do you feel is the best way to improve the situation of sweatshops?

Biblical Integration

Why do we fast, but you do not see? Why do we humble ourselves, but you do not notice?" Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high. Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? —Isaiah 58: 3-6

• We must ensure justice for all of God’s people

• There is a way for creating a sustainable and healthy work environment

And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. - Luke 6:31

• One must consider that all employees should be treated equal and humanely no matter the salary

Conclusion

An American employee will do routine safety checks on building

Grandfathering in workers that are under the age of 16

Safety conditions will comply to American standards regarding the use of chemical safety and building standards

Questions

Do you feel that these specific changes would effectively fix the issues that the company has faced when dealing with overseas factories?

What steps can new companies take to ensure that they do not walk down an unethical road in creating unhealthy working environments overseas?

References

Bajaj, V. (2012, November 25). Fatal Fire in Bangladesh Highlights the Dangers Facing Garment Workers. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/26/world/asia/bangladesh-fire-kills-more-than-100-and-injures-many.html?_r=0

Powell, B. (2014). A Case Against Child Labor Prohibitions. Cato Institute Economic Development Bulletin,21. doi:10.1163/2210-7975_hrd-9985-2014001

Powell, B. (2014). Meet the old sweatshops: Same as the new. The Independent Review, 19(1), 109-122. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/24563262

Powell, B., & Zwolinski, M. (2012). The Ethical and Economic Case Against Sweatshop Labor: A Critical Assessment. Journal of Business Ethics, 107(4), 449-472. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41476263

Stillman, S. (2014, July 16). Death Traps: The Bangladesh Garment-Factory Disaster. Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/death-traps-the-bangladesh-garment-factory-disaster

Zarroli, J. (2016, April 24). 3 Years Later, Bangladeshi Survivors Remember The Collapse Of Rana Plaza. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/04/24/475499651/3-years-later-bangladeshi-survivors-remember-the-collapse-of-rana-plaza

Credits:

Created with images by renaissancechambara - "Nike store cieling art" • scartmyart - "map paper wood" • Unsplash - "tie necktie adjust" • Hermann - "books education school"

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