Sweatshops conjure up a vision of dangerous turn-of-the-century garment factories, of rooms crowded with immigrant women and children hunched over sewing machines for a few dollars a day.

But, they still exist today.

Sweatshops are an ugly stain on American fashion, and it is up to all of us to remove it.

America's garment industry today grosses $45 billion a year and employs more than one million workers.

Retailers dictate to manufacturers what, where, and when garments are produced. Manufacturers, in turn, purchase material and contract work among some 22,000 sewing contractors. Many of these contractors violate labor laws.

Independent surveys as well as federal and state compliance data show minimum wage and overtime violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act occurring in 40 percent to 60 percent of investigated establishments. Additionally, thousands of these shops have serious safety violations that threaten the health -- and lives -- of their workers.

Many companies in the American apparel industry provide good jobs, decent wages, and fine clothing, and they deserve our support.

But the firms that utilize and tolerate sweatshop labor make it harder for honest, law-abiding shops to compete in the marketplace. Both industry and labor have an interest in making sure that companies do not mistreat their employees.

An ugly stain on American fashion -
          Multi-Media Excerpts

Fact Sheet - The "hot goods" provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) generally make it illegal to ship goods in interstate commerce which have been made in violation of the minimum wage or overtime requirements of the FLSA or which were produced in an establishment where child labor violations occurred in the past 30 days.
Outrage Grows Over "Made in USA"
Labels on Clothes from Northern Marianas

AFL-CIO National Boycott List

Fighting to Keep The "Made in USA" Label  Simple, Honest & American! -
          The Made In USA Coalition

Buy America Foundation - Educating the American public on the importance of supporting our own economy by looking for the Made-in-the-U.S.A. label when they shop.

By the Sweat and Toil of Children, a comprehensive report on child labor practices around the world. The Manufacturers Information Net homepage lists suppliers, manufacturers, services and sources for industry, plus a discussion group.

The Manufacturers Information Net homepage lists suppliers, manufacturers, services and sources for industry, plus a discussion group.

Other Links of interest:

  • If you're looking for help in locating interesting American-made products, check in at U.S. Stuff

  • Here's a site that features a delightful assortment of made-in-the-U.S.A. products.
    Christmas Depot is the only American maker of artificial Christmas trees.

  • SNAP - Shopping Network For American-Made Products

The rich get rich, the poor get poorer. That's old news. But now, even the American middle class finds itself threatened -- struggling to maintain its jobs, its comforts and its faith in a better future. What's happened to the dream? It's been stolen. And Inquirer reporters Donald Barlett and James Steele will tell you who's to blame in their 10-part series,

"America: Who Stole the Dream?" 

  • UnionWeb homepage and Labornet homepages have resources for organized labor, labor history and links to labor union web sites.