Sweat shop workers speak out

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On Friday at 4:30p.m. in the Chapel, the “Sweatshop Workers Speak Out Tour” will make its first stop on our very own campus. This nationwide speaking tour features Kalpona Akter, a Bangladeshi garment worker who sews uniforms, and Zehra Bano, a representative of home-based workers in Pakistan. As Macalester students, we are well aware of the existence of sweatshop working conditions around the world, and the fact that many of the goods we purchase everyday are produced in such conditions. But as the old saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” It is easy to forget our reliance on sweatshop labor, and thus our perpetuation of sweatshop working conditions as consumers. Many grow disillusioned by the enormity of this issue, and discount the ability of individuals to improve working conditions of those abroad.

However, we must recognize the progress that individuals and groups all across the nation are currently making in the movement toward “Sweat Free Communities.” States, cities, large institutions, small colleges, community groups, and student organizations are just a few of the entities that are implementing sweatshop free purchasing policies every month.

Come to the “Sweatshop Workers Speak Out” event on Friday at 4:30p.m. in the Chapel to confront the issue of sweatshop labor head on. You’ll hear two workers tell their stories of toiling in the factories and home-based industries of Bangladesh and Pakistan to provide the goods purchased in the United States everyday – and you’ll also learn how you can make a difference on this important issue.

This event has been sponsored by International Labor Rights Forum, Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) – Twin Cities, various Macalester academic departments, programs, and student organizations, and many others. See you Friday!

For a full list of the sponsors, refer to the poster around campus. See you Friday!

Skyler Larrimore ’12 can be reached at [email protected]