The maquiladora or "sweatshop"
is sadly not new. In the early 1900s
American labor history documents the treatment of European immigrant
women who toiled 12-15 hour days for the pittance of wages. The
infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, which produced the popular
clothing for women of the leisured class of the day, forced its female
laborers to work overtime against their will in order to meet
production deadlines by locking all exit doors. One day a fire broke
out and 146 young women lost their lives to a disastrous tragedy. The
inhumanity that describes the sweatshop may no longer describe most
working conditions on American soil today. Instead, it has been
exported to other countries where multinational corporations can
subcontract with factory owners and managers who often place a higher
value on production deadlines than on the health, safety and
well-being of the working poor.
Elvia Arriola, "Of
Woman Born: Courage and Strength to Survive in the Maquiladoras of Reynosa
and Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas," reprinted from Frontera Norte-Sur,
Blue jeans are dangerous to human rights
San Francisco Bay Guardian - San Francisco,CA,USA
... The CEOs, their stockholders, the contractors and subcontractors and
the maquiladora owners grew fat on the US fetish for blue jeans. ...
Bender, ed., Sweatshop USA: The American Sweatshop in
Historical and Global Perspective (paperback) (2004) Kindle/e-book link
CHINA BLUE - a documentary undercover film on young Chinese workers' struggling to survive harsh working conditions in a factory that exports blue jeans to Europe and the U.S.A. Filmmaker Micha Peled, Teddy Bear Films.
documentary collections on Women, Globalization and Sweatshops:
-- NOW, with
Bill Moyers, "Women's Work" in a Globalizing Economy (or Rich World, Poor Women) (PBS:9/5/2003) -How the profitability of the multinational corporation has been shortchanging working women of the world.
Click to the NOW website for more educational resources.