As a consumer, you play a critical role in the system that allows for sweatshops to exist. Without sweatshops many, many people would be unemployed and forced to turn to other income generating activities, possibly prostitution. The goal is not to get rid of the garment industry altogether but rather to drastically improve the conditions these workers must endure.
As more consumers spend their dollars buying clothing constructed under fair conditions the industry will have to follow the lead and provide clothing that is manufactured through fair means.
Create a Sweat-Free Policy on Campus or in Your Community
- Petition your student government or administration to only sell sweat-free clothing in campus stores.
- Urge the leaders of clubs to only order sweat-free t-shirts and other clothing for events.
- Talk to your school’s athletic department and urge them to use only sweat-free sports jerseys.
- Talk to local business owners about the importance of sweat-free products.
Hold a Day of Conscience to End Sweatshops
On October 4, 1997, the National Labor Committee, the Feminist Majority Foundation, the People of Faith Network, the United Methodist Church Women’s Division and UNITE, the Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Texile Employees, held the first Day of Conscience to end sweatshop abuses.
A final report of President Clinton’s Apparel Industry Task Force was released in early November 1997, one month after the day of nationwide “mobilization and educational outreach” took place. Anti-Sweatshop organizers believe that the October 4 festivities influenced the debate and decision making of the Task Force and initiated a “Holiday Season of Conscience” where informed consumers will reward companies that have signed on to the Task Force’s Accord to Address sweatshop abuses and punish companies that have not.
By holding a similar event in your community, you can influence both the general public and local decision-makers.