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  • Back to index of Class Conscious, Second Edition
  • Class Conscious:
    The Injustice of Poverty

    Second Edition

    Chapter 6: The Brutal Result of Capitalism on the People of the World -- The Worker (Modern)

    By Punkerslut

    Start Date: May 24, 2003
    Finish Date: June 2, 2004

    [Special thanks goes out to Co-op America, and responsibleshopper.org, whose publications aided in the research of this chapter.]

    Section I: Abuse of the Worker (Modern)

         The nation of Burma is currently under the control of an illegal military junta. It has been under this control since 1988. Under the force of the military, men, women, children, and the elderly are forced to labor without compensation. Sometimes they work to complete agricultural or industrial projects, other times they work for the military carrying supplies and ammunition. Most of the money the regime makes is through the natural resources that are exported. By purchasing their commodities, one is supporting the regime. However, businesses that are still doing business with Burma include 3M, American Express, BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke), Citigroup, Inc., Glaxosmith Kline, Halliburton, Hewlett-Packard Co., Hyundai, Lucent Technologies, Saks Incorporated, [*1] Chevron Texaco Corp., Hyundai, Mitsubishi Motors of America, Inc., Nestle USA, Nissan Motor, Sony Corp., Toshiba Corp., Unocal [*2] Federated Department Stores, [*3] TJX, and Kohl's. [*4]

         In the 1980's and 1990's, the use of outsourcing among American industries had become a popular trend, only becoming more and more used. Outsourcing is when American industries move capital to foreign territory, where production costs are lower. Why are they lower? They're lower because they're capable of getting away with lower wages, more hours, and fewer jobs. With the passage of NAFTA, this only increased. In Mexico, American industries import from maquiladoras, Mexican factories where laborers are paid poorly and forced to work overtime. Though passed with the intention of helping the world, NAFTA has meant fewer jobs with more hours and less pay. Businesses using Mexican maquiladoras include BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke), Canon Inc., DaimlerChrysler, Eli Lilly, Ford Motor, General Electric Company, General Motors, Hewlett-Packard Co., Hitachi American, Ltd., Honda Motor, Honeywell, Hyundai, IBM, Mattel Inc., Mitsubishi Motors of America, Inc., Motorola, Nissan Motor, Sanya Electric Co., Ltd., Sara Lee Corp., Sony Corp., Toshiba Corp., Volkswagon AG, and Xerox. [*5]

         Some apparel sold at Dillard's is made in Excel Apparel Exports, a Haitian factory. Workers here earn $1.33 a day. [*6] Caribou Coffee sells products that are not Tarnsfar certified Fair Trade, meaning that the coffee farmers are paid lowly and work in poor conditions. Carribou Coffee owns 160 locations throughout the United States. [*7] Gap and Nike brand clothing are made at BJ&B sweatshop in the Dominican Republic. Violating even that nation's labor laws, women are paid less than men, workers are hit, touched inappropriately, and belittled, and conditions are unsanitary. Out of the $20 retail cost of a brand cap, $0.08 is given to the workers, who earn about $40 after 56 hours of work. [*8] Both Circuit City and JCPenny employment contracts prohibit their workers from litigating against their employer. This disallows employees from filing suit for sexual harassment, abuse, or violation of labor laws. [*9] Hasbro, the child toy company, subcontracts factories in Asia, using cheap labor and lack of enforcement of labor laws. Such labor laws prevent unsanitary and unsafe conditions, as well as protecting wages. [*10] In a Nabisco food processing plant in Oxnard, California, female employees were denied the right to take bathroom breaks, while males were allowed this privilege. The employer even padlocked the female bathroom between breaks. [*11] In a National Semiconductor facility in Greenock, Scotland, women workers are suffering serious occupational health problems, including miscarriages, reproductive cancers, vision problems, and respiratory ailments. The ability to unionize is illegal, thus inhibiting workers from organizing against the unsanitary conditions. [*12]

         Nike was the recipient of the National Labor Committees' First Annual Golden Grinch Awards. It was received because the company had outstanding sweatshop abuses and starvation wages. In one Dominican Republic factory, workers were given 6.6 minutes to sew one children's sweatshirt. They earn $0.08 for each $22.99 Nike sweatshirt they sew, less than 3/10ths of 1% of retail price. [*13] In Guatemala, a Phillips-Van Heusen employee work force organized a union according to Guatemalan law, but the company refuses to recognize the validity of it. [*14] In Saipan, 40,000 garment workers brought suit against Polo Ralph Lauren, because workers faced harassment, abuse, and poor working conditions. [*15] Shirts and pants sold at Wal-Mart stores are made by workers at the Beximco Factory, Bangladesh, where employees work 12 hour days, seven days a week, and receive between 9 and 20 cents an hour. [*16] A New Orleans worker at the Winn-Dixie grocery store was fired because he was a crossdresser, when not at work. [*17]

         In June of 1995, JCPenny fired 186 workers at an El Salvador plant because they organized in a union. This was after being subject to excessive overtime and undue punishment. [*18] Since 1996, Darden Restaurants has been charged with four separate accounts of anti-gay discrimination. [*19] From 1996 to 1997, Halliburton aided in construction in Burma, knowing of the forced labor, or literal slavery, that was used to build it. [*20] Mitsubishi has been mishandling sexual and racial harassment allegations from 1996 and earlier. Some women were set back in careers for not giving in to sexual harassment. [*21] In 1997, Fruit of the Loom slashed 7,700 U.S. jobs in shifting production to the Caribbean, ultimately offering fewer jobs, for longer hours, with less pay. [*22] Home Depot paid $104 million to settle a class-action discrimination suit, involving 25,000 employees. [*23] Kmart, Limited Brands Inc., and May Department Stores, was named as one of the companies that used sweatshop labor most often in 1997. [*24]

         In a 1997 report, teenage girls and women working in the Keyhinge factory in Vietnam were forced to work 9 to 10 hours a day, seven days a week, often earning just six cents an hour. They were producing promotional toys for happy meals. In February of that year, 200 workers fell ill, 25 collapsed, and three were hospitalized, because of chemical exposure. [*25] On March 8 of 1997, Carmelita Alonza died after spending 11 days in the hospital. The cause of death was related to her 14 hour workdays and eight hours of overtime every Sunday. She worked in a factory that supplied Eddie Bauer, Federated Department Stores, Gap, Jones Apparel, Liz Claiborne Inc., May Department Stores, and Polo Ralph Lauren. [*26] On June of 1997, a British judge noted in a sidenote that McDonald's pays low wages, helping to depress wages in the catering trade. [*27] Reebok shoe factories in China employ workers as young as 13, paid below legal minimum, and forced overtime, according to a September 1997 report. [*28] In October of 1997, First Union settled an age discrimination suit against 239 former employees, by paying $58.5 million. Old workers were fired and replaced with younger, less-qualified workers. [*29] In an Associated Press report for November of 1997, Nicaraguans who make garments sold at Kmart work in appalling conditions and are paid extremely little. The report also noted Hondurans who were forced to work in similar conditions for the Kathie Lee Gifford line. There was physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. The factories were surrounded by barbed wire, guarded with armed soldiers, and employed children as young as 15, some forced to work 13 hours a day, seven days a week, without overtime pay. [*30] In December of 1997, five garment workers in El Paso, Texas, were awarded $10.6 million in court, when the Levi Strauss company violated their privacy rights. The violation occurred as retaliation, when the workers sought work comp benefits for injuries incurred at the plant. [*31]

         Arlen Benjamin-Gomez traveled to Honduras in 1998, where she interviewed workers for two weeks. These workers were paid $3.50 a day and forced to work long hours of overtime without pay. Ventilation was poor in the factories, the managers treated them badly, and they had limited use use of the bathrooms. Workers who tried to unionize were blacklisted and fired. [*32] Also in 1998, Gap clothing and clothing by the Sara Lee Corp. was manufactured in a Thai factory. It underpaid workers, denied payment of overtime, required forced overtime, and provided no working welfare, violating the law in Thailand. Work shifts were 12 hours each with limited bathroom use. Women workers were sexually harassed and violated. Unionizing workers were fired. [*33] McDonald's has been allowed by the government to put restaurants in public hospitals, guaranteeing a monopoly -- however, such restaurants are anti-union. [*34] In maquiladoras in Mexico, Sanyo performed pregnancy tests and fired all pregnant women. [*35] A 1998 report detailed 53 cases of pregnancy discrimination at 50 factories along the U.S.-Mexico border and in Baja, California. These factories are operated by Tyco International, which requires mandatory pregnancy testing during the hiring process. [*36] Also in 1998, Tyson Foods cheated workers out of 30 minutes of overtime pay everyday. [*37]

         As late as March of 1998, Federated Department Stores and Polo Ralph Lauren were selling clothing made in China, under illegal working conditions and violating internationally recognized workers rights. [*38] A March 1998 visit to Reebok factories had discovered that wages and monitoring were inadequate, and that virtually little to no progress had been made in allowing workers the right to unionize. Also, the actual wages had decreased in purchasing power by 60%. [*39] In March of 1998, a female worker suffered sexual harassment, verbal and physical, by workers of Tyson Foods corporation, and her complaints to management were completely ignored. [*40] One woman was demoted from State Street Corp. after taking a maternity leave. Investor's Business Daily stated that the complaint claimed, "women were targets of profanity and were underpaid relative to their male counterparts; that another woman was fired because she missed work while attending court after having been the victim of domestic abuse; and that an employee played a compact disc of a woman having an orgasm over speakers located in the equity trading room." [*41] In June of 1998, an explosion linked to outdated equipment at the Pennzoil-Quaker State Company killed 5 workers. Pennzoil paid a $1.5 million fine in April of 1996 for violating OSHA's safety management rules and materials handling rules. [*42] In 1998 of August, CIGNA Corporation withheld raises from their employees unless the employees signed over their right to sue over age, sex, and racial discrimination, any form of harassment, or wrongful hiring. [*43] In 1991, Whole Foods fired an employee for her union activity in the United States. In November of 1997, Whole Foods also fired 70 union workers with 70 non-union workers. At another Whole Foods, one worker was fired for trying to represent the work force and bring up concerns of the workers. [*44] In October of 1998, a female worker of the Dana Corporation was subjected to sexual harassment by a male supervisor. Her claim was backed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The harassment went on for several years. [*45] Time Warner Inc. denied health and pension benefits to hundreds of eligible workers, by claiming they were independent contractors. [*46] In 1998, the Valero Energy Corp. finally gave compensation to a widow of a worker at its' Armarillo, Texas refinery, who was killed in a 1996 gas explosion. A jury determined the company was guilty of gross negligence. [*47]

         The year 1999 was not much different than others. In an Indonesian oil facility, owned by Chevron Texaco Corp., 8,000 workers face labor and human rights violations. [*48] In a 1999 report, General Motors was found to be performing pregnancy tests and discrimination against pregnant females. [*49] A group of black employees working for Merk were being treated unfairly and not given the same promotion opportunities as white employees. [*50] In January of 1999, HoltraChem Manufacturing was fined by the NC Occupational Safety and Health Administration for health and safety violations, including overexposure of mercury to employees, frequent hydrogen fires, and lack of protective clothing for dangerous chemicals. [*51] In the same month, Warnaco and seventeen other clothing manufacturers were accused of using indentured labor to produce clothing, failure to pay overtime, and intolerable work conditions in Saipan, a United States territory. [*52] In February of 1999, Airborne Inc. was sued because their policy of randomly searching workers violates their civil rights and the collective bargaining agreement. [*53] In early 1999, Tyson Foods tried to take away 21 benefits from workers when contracts came up for renewal. [*54] In March of 1999, a white supervisor for Airborne Inc. accelerated the disciplinary process of seven African Americans and Hispanics, as well as screaming obscenities at them and physically threatening them. [*55] Kohl's, owned by Great Atlantic and Pacific, was accused in 1998 of practicing wage discrimination, by giving only high paying positions to male employees. By 1999 of March, 1,500 females have joined in a suit against the company. [*56] A report from March of 1999 reported that more than half of the clothing sold by Lands' End was being purchased from overseas, where sweatshop conditions are prevalent [*57] In April of 1999, Bellsouth was accused of discriminating against 300 employees, who were denied promotions and pay raises because of age and gender. [*58] A May 1999 report identified Cooper Tire & Rubber as one of 12,500 workplaces with notably high occupational injury and illness. [*59] When Mexican workers at a maquiladora voted to be represented by an independent union in May of 1999, Hyundai refused their request. [*60]

         According to a June, 1999 report, Boise Cascade has been charged with 350 willful negligence violations of worker safety since 1988. [*61] According to another June, 1999 report, Phillips-Van Heusen shut down a factory that had been granted independent monitoring and moved to a non-unionized, poverty-wage sweatshops. [*62] In July of 1999, 13 current and former employees of Winn-Dixie were awarded $120,000 each by a federal court for race and sex discrimination. [*63] Federal Express Corp. in Maryland were accused of male managers sexually assaulting and molesting five women. [*64] Rockwell International plead guilty to three felony counts, in which it was accused of the deaths of two employees due to lack of safety regulations. [*65] In September of 1999, one MBNA telemarketer filed discrimination charges against the company, on physical disabilities and age. [*66] The University of Arkansas purchases its school clothing from overseas nations where sweatshop conditions flourish. [*67] In October of 1999, Fruit of the Loom paid $7.3 million in a settlement agreement because they had refused to pay wages to workers. [*68] In late 1999, one female employee of MBNA was sexually harassed and assaulted by a male coworker, whom the company had refused to do anything to help. The harassment was so intense that it went to the point of physical collapse. [*69] In October of 1999, Phillips-Van Heusen and four other clothing manufacturers agreed to settle a class-action suit because of their sweatshop conditions in the United States. [*70] Sales staffers at Quaker Oats had lost their jobs in 1994 because of age discrimination, were finally paid settlement in late 1999 . [*71] Seoney's Inc. paid out $18 million in settlement fees because of unfair wage and labor practices. [*72] Amazon.com's work conditions include four people sharing one cubicle, low wages, and poor management. [*73] In September of 1999, a former employee of AutoNation filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against his employer, because he was fired on religious grounds. [*74] A Nigeria-American employee of Autonation was harassed at a dealership, calling him "ebola" and "ebola virus" over four months. [*75] Norman Pawlowski was fired from Hewlett-Packard, when he brought up environmental and safety violations that threatened the safety of other employees. [*76] In December of 1999, 8,000 Indonesian workers held violent protests demanding higher wages from Nike's starvation wages. [*77] Seven workers were killed at Tyson Foods facilities throughout 1999, when no other poultry company has reported any fatalities in that or the next year. [*78]

         In January of 2000, Dana Corporation was found to be hiding microphones in security cameras to eavesdrop on employees. [*79] Georgia Pacific refused to pay 6,000 seasonal farm workers the minimum wage in the United States. The same thing happened with employees of International Paper Co.. [*80] Whole Foods routinely failed to pay overtime to employees who worked more than 40 hours a week over a two-year period. [*81] K-tel International Inc., and 11 other companies, were making bootlegs of slain rapper Tupac Shakur's music, without compensation. [*82] Goodyear Tire & Rubber has been engaging in anti-union activities in March of 2000, including firing 48 production employees at its Guatemala plant. [*83] Eighteen retailers, including Jones Apparel, Liz Claiborne Inc., and May Department Stores, in March of 2000 agreed to compensate underpaid and overworked employees in sweatshop conditions in Saipan, a U.S. territory. [*84] A massive explosion at a petroleum plastics plant in Texas, March 2000, killed one person and injured 74 others. It was the third fatal accident in 11 years, and fourth explosion in one year. The company had failed to meet safety regulations. [*85] An Arabic-Syrian employee of Federated Department stores was mocked for her ethnicity and then fired for actions that, when other workers engaged in them, there was no disciplinary action. [*86] Forty five employees of IBM in April of 2000 were exposed to cancer-causing agents within an IBM plant that failed to meet safety regulations. [*87] JCPenny is one of several U.S. corporations employing 40 thousand factory workers in Jordan, where workers earn $3.50 a day. JCPenny and several other companies contracted sweatshop labor in Saipan. In December of 2000, JCPenny contracted Daewoosa clothing factory in American Samoa, where workers sometimes were refused food for days, as a form of punishment against workers, refused to pay wages, and engaged in physical assaults on their workers by the bosses. A San Francisco garment plant operated by JCPenny was shut down because it refused to pay $850,000 in wages. Also, JCPenny operates assembly plants in Haiti, paying less than that nation's minimum wage. [*88] Louisiana-Pacific violated six safety standards in an explosion that killed a worker and hospitalized another at its Olathe plant in October 1999. [*89]

         In May of 2000, CIGNA Corp. shortchanged doctors on insurance policies, by refusing to pay for certain services that were covered in the contracts. [*90] Foot Locker Inc. has been paying its Canadian employees only 65% of minimum wage in Toronto, some being paid as low as $2.50 an hour, forced to work up to 12 hours without overtime pay. [*91] Kohl's was given one of the National Labor Committee's First Annual Golden Grinch Awards, for outstanding sweatshop abuses and starvation wages. Their labor is contracted in sweatshops in Nicaragua. [*92] Limited Brands Inc., as well as 17 other clothing manufacturers, used indentured labor to produce clothing. They failed to pay overtime and minimum wage, while advertising their garments as "Sweatshop Free." 50,000 workers were harmed from their activities. [*93] Toyota forced one employee to work 12 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week, for years. Japan's legal system forced the company to compensate the widow. [*94] United Airlines (UAL Corporation) was ruled to pay discrimination damages, when they had stricter weight standards for female employees than male employees. [*95] In July of 2000, Northwest Airlines fired a number of employees that were organized in union activity. They also used spyware to monitor the employees opinion of the company. [*96] In August of 2000, American Airlines (AMR) had to pay 1.7 million to 99 disabled people who were denied jobs with the carrier. [*97] Federal Express was fined by the FAA for failure to apply legal safety procedures in transporting chemical oxygen generators. One improperly placed oxygen generator was the cause of a crash that killed 110 people. [*98] Interstate Bakers was ordered to pay $11 in damages to 21 black workers, because they were denied promotions, subject to racist comments, and given the worst shifts. [*99] Fox TV illegal fired Jane Akre, a reporter who refused to run a false report claiming that Monsanto's bovine growth hormone was safe. Strong evidence linked the growth hormone to cancer in humans. Monsanto warned Fox of "dire consequences" unless the television station lied to the public about the safety of the growth hormone. [*100]

         In September of 2000, Kmart, Kohl's, and four others engaged in aggressive anti-union activity. All union workers were fired. Union leaders were charged with serious criminal offenses. All employees who complained about verbal and physical abuse were also fired. [*101] Marriott International was accused of over 80 violations of labor law during its four years of contract talks with 9,000 of its workers. [*102] In October of 2000, Albertson's failed to pay final wages on time when employees left the company. [*103] Proctor and Gamble Co. uses non-union talent in commercials produced. [*104] A lawyer suing Publix Super Markets said, "It's clear that for years, Publix has engaged in a pattern and practice of channeling women into low-paying jobs and preventing them from moving from part-time to full-time work, which has affected their opportunities for advances and benefits." [*105] In October of 2000, Publix Super Markets discriminated against six Hispanic employees, by refusing them promotions. [*106] In November of 2000, Amazon.com posted anti-union materials on its internal website, providing managers with "warning signs" of possible union organizing activities. [*107] Louise Lopman spent three months at an El Salvador factory that produced for Fruit of the Loom and other companies. Women were frequently denied bathroom access, given polluted water to drink, forced to stand 12 to 14 hours per day, and paid 43 cents per hour. Lopman said, "In the sweatshops of El Salvador, I saw young women working in very inhumane conditions... experiencing severe violations of dignity, of self-esteem, and of human rights." [*108] One doctor for Humana was fired when he argued against policies that would hurt patient care. [*109] Kmart, for four years according to labor leaders, has been opposing the formation of unions in its stores while offering benefits and wages that are insufficient. [*110] Louisiana-Pacific has been discovered to have eight serious safety violations involving 42 separate occurrences, where there was a "substantial probability" of death or physical harm. [*111] The EEOC said it had found evidence of a "pattern and practice of discrimination" against women at Morgan Stanley Dean Whitter. [*112] In December of 2000, 49 agents for Allstate are suing because the company refused to pay overtime. [*113] The Great Atlantic and Pacific corporation paid its deliverymen $2 an hour over the course of six years. This was the employment of over 110 people in Harlem. [*114] A black, homosexual man for Morgan Stanley Dean Whitter was fired on accounts of photos of him appearing in a gay pornographic magazine. [*115] 15,000 African Americans were fired or refused promotion because of their race from 1993 to 2000, for the company Publix Super Markets. [*116]

         In 2001, female employees at USAirways complained, claiming "male coworkers frequently came to work intoxicated and were permitted to watch pornographic videos in an employee lounge." Those who complained were fired. [*117] In January of 2001, two women from Chicago plants were sexually harassed, and they claimed that sexual harassment was widely accepted and complaints went ignored. [*118] Two IBM workers were exposed to toxic fumes at the company's facility in Fishkill, NY, causing birth defects. [*119] A Mexican plant for Nike employed children, forced striking workers to work at gunpoint, and allowed rancid food to its employees. [*120] In January of 2001, U-Haul classified 480 employees as managers to deny them overtime, but a Los Angeles court ordered the company to pay over $10 million in overtime pay. [*121] In February of 2001, Hewlett-Packard reneged on its promise to provide lifetime discounts on its products to over 3,800 Hewlett-Packard retirees. [*122] It was discovered in February of 2001, that as many as 13,000 workers from Mattell Inc. may have been exposed to toxic levels of trichloroethylene (TCE) from 1951 to 1980. TCE has an association with anemia, arthritis, cancer, birth defects, and liver damage. [*123] In February of 2001, nine current and former Microsoft employees suffered racial discrimination at their workplace, where they were passed over for promotions, paid less than co-workers, experienced a hostile work place, and subject to retaliation. [*124] Global Alliance published a report, claiming that "Indonesian workers [at nine different factories] making Nike clothes and shoes are being sexually and verbally abused, have limited access to health care and are forced to work overtime." [*125]

         A lawsuit against Wal-mart claims that the company set up a system of frequently paying its female workers less than male counterparts and bypassing women for promotions. Another lawsuit alleges that Walmart "denied women promotions, paid them less than men and forced them to visit strip clubs on business." The National Organization for Women are boycotting Wal-Mart, claiming unequal pay between the sexes, denying promotion to female employees, exclusion of contraception in health benefits, and refusal to sell the "morning-after pill" (Preven) for women, but still selling Viagra for men. According to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 72% of Wal-mart's staff is women, but only a third of them make it to management, ranking it below rivals' levels of 25 years ago. In California, another boycott was called against the Wal-Mart company, for using racial slurs against its Mexican workers. The EEOC would issue its 17th lawsuit against Wal-mart in August of 2001 for discriminating against job applicants who are disabled. Another EEOC lawsuit claims that a Wal-Mart "greeter" was fired after the company refused to let her sit down occasionally, due to her knee problems. In another EEOC lawsuit, Walmart failed to provide qualified interpreters for deaf applicants and employees. [*126] 400 Florida farm workers for Taco Bell are paid 40 to 45 cents for every 32 pounds of tomatoes they pick -- a yearly average of $7,500 with no benefits. In May of 2001, Pizza Hut (of Yum! Brands) paid $10 million in a lawsuit for backpay. In February of 2000, they paid $9 million to 3,000 California employees who were not given overtime. [*127]

         In March of 2001, an engineer for Consolidated Edison warned that the nuclear power plant was faulty, and resigned in protest. A security guard was forced to his sixth straight day of 12 hour shifts, and was fired for complaining. [*128] The DaimlerChrysler company was sued in March of 2001, for disallowing his disabled workers from transferring from plant to plant, but allowing transfers for non-disabled workers. [*129] American Airlines was accused of violation the Americans with Disabilities Act for the second time by the EEOC in March of 2001. [*130] Disney, Sony Corp., and Time Warner Inc., failed to pay 25,000 discharged workers on time of their last paycheck in March of 2001. [*131] In February of 2001, Ford's new evaluation process was designed to weed out older workers. [*132] Kohl's has been selling clothing made in El Salvador, where women are given mandatory pregnancy tests (and fired if positive), obligatory overtime of 6 days a week with 13 hour shifts, and paid as little as 60 cents an hour, less than a third of the cost of living. [*133] In March of 2001, Mitsubishi Motors of America agreed to pay $1.4 million to a group of minority workers, because the company "denied blacks promotions and transfers, and ignored racial incidents in the workplace, such the use of slurs, graffiti with the letters 'KKK' and, in once instance, the hanging of a noose in a break area." [*134] Starbucks has refused to implement human rights monitors on its coffee plantations, where some of the worst human rights violations have been recorded. [*135] A class-action discrimination suit is against Sunoco, Inc., because, as one black workers claims, "The majority of blacks that have been employed by Sunoco are limited to staff positions and denied key management positions that instead go to whites," as well as hosting a hostile a hostile environment. [*136]

         In April of 2003, Target and 21 other companies had to pay $20 million at a court order for sweatshop labor in Saipan, a U.S. territory. More than 13,000 workers worked 12-hour days regularly, seven days a week, without overtime pay. It also required workers to sign contracts waiving basic human rights. Target has been employing 40,000 workers in Jordan, where workers earn $3.50 a day. In March of 2001, Target was selling clothing produced in El Salvador, with mandatory pregnancy tests, six working days a week, thirteen hour shifts, and wages as low as sixty cents an hour. [*137] 21 workers for U-Haul were immediately fired for trying to join the Teamsters Union. [*138] Ten black Xerox workers filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming they were disallowed job advancement or promotion. [*139] In April of 2001, 12 employees of Albertson's filed a racial discrimination against their company, for being routinely passed over for promotions -- even workers who have been with the company for 31 years. [*140] Amazon.com's working conditions it April 2001 included "poor pay, poor conditions, poor communications and poor management," as well as harassment and intimidation. [*141] American Airlines' health plan does not cover reproductive care for women, but provides Viagra for men. [*142] General Electric Company, General Motors, Honeywell, Sony Corp., and McDonald's, was named as a violator of workers rights' in U.S., Canada, and Mexico, by the Human Rights Watch. [*143] In April of 2001, a federal discrimination lawsuit (by the EEOC) was filed against Kroger for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act, by harassing mentally retarded workers into quitting their jobs. A minor was also threatened with arrest if he refused to quit his job. [*144] In April of 2001, Georgia-Pacific settled a racial harassment suit, because its African-American employees were exposed to racial slurs, jokes, and graffiti at the facility, and one employee was fired for complaining about harassment from the manager. [*145] Marriott International has been refusing to unionize its hotels for years, with labor leaders and government officials declaring a boycott against Marriott. [*146]

         Daimler Chrysler in June 2001 refused to hire disabled mechanics at its Detroit Axle Plant. [*147] An employee of Bellsouth was fired from the company after being subjected to anti-Semitic harassment and complaining about it, in June of 2001. [*148] A 27-year veteran of Dupont was refused a promotion because of his disabilities. [*149] Ford Motor, in response to many of these discrimination suits, went with reverse discriminations: it refused to promote white managers, in favor of women and minorities. [*150] Ford Motor in June of 2001 ignored complaints of six of its employees for sexual harassment, including "Grabbing the salesmen's genitals and buttocks, asking for sexual favors and making inappropriate comments of a sexual nature." [*151] Jefferson Smurfit Group plc admitted to failing to ensure worker safety, causing the death of one of its workers in. The investigation found that it has had previous worker fatalities in the past, that were only met with fines. [*152]

    Section II: Conclusion

         Reading and rereading these, we discover that what has happened one hundred years ago has not stopped. It may have stopped in our domestic lands, but those who committed these abuses have simply relocated to other areas. Their abuse of the workers has not ceased. It continues strongly, and, just as the abuse of past eras, it goes on with the constant condemnation of every humane and ethical person. These individuals who organize boycotts against sweatshop corporations, often they are not Communist, and sometimes not even Socialist. They are using their rights in a free society, as they say, to oppose something that they don't believe in. Whatever the case may be, it is undoubted that these things we read of are horrific, that they speak an insurmountable of truth about the evils of the Capitalist system.



    1. Global Unions (http://www.global-unions.org/burma/default2.asp)
    2. Burma Forum Los Angeles (http://www.burmaforumla.org/who.htm)
    3. Corp Watch (www.corpwatch.org/action/PAA.jsp?articleid=1958)
    4. National Labor Committee (http://www.nlcnet.org/)
    5. Corp Watch (http://www.corpwatch.org)
    6. Clean Clothes Campaign (http://www.cleanclothes.org/)
    7. TransFair USA (http://www.transfairusa.org/)
    8. UNITE (http://www.uniteunion.org/)
    9. National Organization for Women (http://www.now.org/)
    10. Multinational Monitor (http://multinationalmonitor.org/)
    11. National Organization for Women (http://www.now.org/)
    12. Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (http://www.svtc.org/)
    13. National Labor Committee (http://www.nlcnet.org/)
    14. Campaign for Labor Rights (http://www.campaignforlaborrights.org/)
    15. Human Rights Watch (http://www.hrw.org/)
    16. National Labor Committee (http://www.nlcnet.org/)
    17. Gay Today (http://gaytoday.badpuppy.com/)
    18. Multinational Monitor (http://multinationalmonitor.org/)
    19. Human Rights Campaign (http://www.hrc.org/)
    20. Corp Watch (http://www.corpwatch.org)
    21. National Organization for Women (http://www.now.org/)
    22. Public Citizen (http://www.citizen.org/)
    23. Vault.com
    24. Solidarity (http://solidarity.igc.org/)
    25. Corp Watch (http://www.corpwatch.org)
    26. Corp Watch (http://www.corpwatch.org)
    27. Corp Watch (http://www.corpwatch.org)
    28. Global Exchange (http://www.globalexchange.org/)
    29. The New York Times, October 23, 1997
    30. The Associated Press, November 12, 1997
    31. Managing Risk, December 1997
    32. Global Exchange (http://www.globalexchange.org/)
    33. Clean Clothes Campaign (http://www.cleanclothes.org/)
    34. AFSCME (http://www.afscme.org/)
    35. Corp Watch (http://www.corpwatch.org)
    36. Human Rights Watch (http://www.hrw.org/)
    37. Dollars & Sense (http://www.dollarsandsense.org/)
    38. AAP Newsfeed, March 19, 1998
    39. Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (http://www.iccr.org/)
    40. The Kansas City Star, March 28, 1998
    41. Investor's Business Daily, May 21, 1998
    42. Chemical Week, June 24, 1998
    43. The Patriot Ledger, August 4, 1998
    44. Texas Observer, September 11, 1998
    45. The AP State & Local Wire, October 28, 1998
    46. The AP State & Local Wire, October 26, 1998
    47. The National Law Journal, December 21, 1998
    48. Corp Watch (http://www.corpwatch.org)
    49. Corp Watch (http://www.corpwatch.org)
    50. Vault.com
    51. Morning Star (Wilmington, NC), January 20, 1999
    52. Sweatshop Watch (http://www.sweatshopwatch.org/)
    53. The AP State & Local Wire, February 4, 1999
    54. Associated Press, February 24, 1999
    55. NY Employment Law Letter, March 1999
    56. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, March 19, 1999
    57. The Dallas Morning News, March 7, 1999
    58. Business Journal Serving Charlotte, April 16, 1999
    59. Rubber & Plastics News, May 31, 1999
    60. Corporate Watch, May 16, 1999
    61. U.S. PIRG Report, Public Loss, Private Gain
    62. Multinational Monitor, June 1999
    63. USA Today, July 19, 1999
    64. The AP State & Local Wire, August 16, 1999
    65. Multinational Monitor, July/August 1999
    66. Bangor Daily News, September 19, 1999
    67. Associated Press, September 2, 1999
    68. The Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA), October 19, 1999
    69. Sexual Harassment Litigation Reporter, Oct 1999
    70. CNN (www.cnn.com)
    71. Associated Press, October 9, 1999
    72. The Commercial Appeal, October 3, 1999
    73. The Washington Post, November 22, 1999
    74. The Arizona Republic, November 21, 1999
    75. The Ethnic NewsWatch, November 11, 1999
    76. Associated Press, November 27, 1999
    77. The Associated Press, December 22, 1999
    78. Corporate Watch, December 30, 1999
    79. The AP State & Local Wire, January 6, 2000
    80. The Atlanta Journal, January 29, 2000
    81. The AP State & Local Wire, January 25, 2000
    82. APBnews.com , February 1, 2000
    83. Rubber & Plastics News, March 20, 2000
    84. The Associated Press, March 28, 2000
    85. Mother Jones, January 3, 2001/ OSHA
    86. The Morning Call (Allentown), April 5, 2000
    87. The Recorder, April 14, 2000
    88. Associated Press, April 25, 2003, et al.
    89. The AP State & Local Wire, April 3, 2000
    90. The AP State & Local Wire, May 31, 2000
    91. Canada and the World Backgrounder, May 2000
    92. National Labor Committee (http://www.nlcnet.org/)
    93. Sweatshop Watch, May 15, 2000
    94. Multinational Monitor, June 2000
    95. Crain's Chicago Business, June 26, 2000
    96. Business Week, July 7, 2000
    97. Los Angeles Times, August 11, 2000
    98. HazMat Transport News, August 1, 2000
    99. CNN (www.cnn.com)
    100. Wired (http://www.wired.com/)
    101. The Nation, September 4, 2000
    102. San Francisco Chronicle, September 5, 2000
    103. Atlanta Journal & Constitution, October 14, 2000
    104. The Toronto Star, October 4, 2000
    105. Supermarket News, October 23, 2000
    106. The Miami Herald, October 28, 2000
    107. The New York Times, November 29, 2000
    108. The Boston Globe, Nov. 26, 2000
    109. The AP State & Local Wire, November 17, 2000
    110. The AP State & Local Wire, November 24, 2000
    111. AP State & Local Wire, November 22, 2000
    112. Los Angeles Times, November 29, 2000
    113. The New York Times, December 20, 2000
    114. The New York Times, December 8, 2000
    115. The New Republic, December 4, 2000
    116. St. Petersburg Times, Dec. 30, 2000
    117. The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 12, 2001
    118. The New York Times, January 28, 2001
    119. Los Angeles Times, Jan. 24, 2001
    120. San Francisco Gate
    121. The Los Angeles Times, January 10, 2001
    122. San Francisco Gate, February 1, 2001
    123. Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    124. The Associated Press, February 16, 2001
    125. The Independent (London), February 23, 2001
    126. Business First, et al.
    127. Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 2001, et al.
    128. Associated Press, March 2, 2001
    129. Reuters, March 8, 2001
    130. The Dallas Morning News, March 30, 2001
    131. The Los Angeles Times, March 1, 2001
    132. The New York Times, March 19, 2001
    133. National Labor Committee (http://www.nlcnet.org/)
    134. The Associated Press, March 29, 2001
    135. Biodemocracy News, March 2001
    136. The Legal Intelligencer, March 7, 2001
    137. National Labor Committee, et al.
    138. AP State & Local Wire, March 14, 2001
    139. Chicago Tribune, March 27, 2001
    140. Bloomberg News
    141. Guardian Unlimited
    142. AirWise News
    143. Human Rights Watch, April 16, 2001
    144. Cincinnatti Business Courier
    145. Employment Litigation Reporter, May 29, 2001
    146. May 17, 2001
    147. The Associated Press, June 6, 2001
    148. The Orlando Sentinel, June 12, 2001
    149. The Washington Post, June 2, 2001
    150. Roanoke Times & World News, June 23, 2001
    151. ABC Lubbock Texas
    152. UK Newsquest Regional Press, June 25, 2001

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