Labor Rights are Human Rights. Most of the world’s nations do not have adequate human rights or labor rights protection laws.
Also, consider this quote and who said it, “” We must reduce workers’ salaries and take away their right to strike.” ~Adolf Hitler, May 2, 1933
Here are some comparisons of labor benefits, compensation and other workplace issues in the US as compared to other nations in the world: http://www.bls.gov/fls/charts.htm
The reason we see so many labels on products we buy in the US that say “Made in ___________(fill in the blank with a third world nation)” is that it is less expensive for corporations to produce items in nations that do not require them to pay a living wage, provide health benefits or ensure worker safety. In essence, corporations have chosen to operate sweatshops that violate the most basic human rights and the most basic labor rights so they can be more profitable.
Instead of keeping their operations in the U.S., hiring American workers, paying living wages, providing benefits (healthcare, 401K plans, disability benefits, workers’ compensation, paid sick/vacation/bereavement days), paying payroll taxes to the U.S., paying overtime as per laws, and investing in machinery and abiding by regulations that ensure a physically safe workplace – these corporations have chosen instead to ignore all of those things an export jobs to China or Bangledesh or Mexico or elsewhere where they can get away with mistreating workers in sweatshops.
If every nation had strong workplace laws protecting workers from exploitation, harm, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, etc. – the U.S. economy would be in much better shape. Every single US corporation that currently exports its operations probably would not do so. Unemployment in the US would not be as high as it is. Corporations would pay living wages with good benefits.
It is also true that we’d each be paying much more for things we have gotten used to buying at ultra-cheap prices. That would still be a better world for us and for the rest of the people in the world.
Do you think about where your products come from?
Do you want to buy something that was made by a 10-year old child who works 12 hours a day for pennies each hour?
Do you want to spend your money to enrich corporations that cause US unemployment and run dangerous and exploitative sweatshops in other nations?
Read the labels of products you consider buying. Learn about FAIR-Trade, which is a good thing, vs “free-trade” which is not. Try to purchase products that were made in the US or that were made using FAIR-Trade standards.
The cost of concrete in China affects the cost of buliding materials in the US. Environmental regulations worldwide also affect production costs and labor costs. When the entire world abides by environmental regulations, the world will be healthier for human beings and labor issues will also be improved.
Every dollar we spend is a vote. Don’t vote at Wal-Mart. Don’t vote at McDonald’s. Don’t vote for products made in China. Vote for Human Rights. Vote for Labor Rights.
Think before you buy.
Think before you accept a job at a corporation that is doing harm to employees, the public or the environment: Search for Compliance Jobs http://careers.hereisthecity.com/jobs/search.cntns
Denise A Romano
Copyright 2009 Reproduction allowed with copyright intact and inclusion of this blog address