Big Retailers Are Selling Clothing Made in Sweatshops Says Labor Activist

12/18/12 Robert Lorei
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Good morning, welcome to Radioactivity. I'm Rob Lorei. We're going to play the listener comments later in the program as we talk about guns and your response to the massacre in Connecticut- in light of what we just heard on Democracy Now. But first--

A little less than one month ago --On Nov. 24, more than 112 Bangladeshi workers were burned to death, trapped in a locked sweatshop sewing garments for Wal-Mart, Disney, Sears, Sean Combs/ENYCE, Target and others.

The National Catholic Reporter story on the fire says that ---Feeling pressure from the above retailers to sew clothing at a frantic pace and get it shipped out in time for the Christmas shopping rush, management at the Tazreen garment factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, had been forcing employees for the last three months to work 12-hour shifts, six and seven days a week, for less than 27 cents an hour.

Charles Kernaghan, executive director of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights joins us right now- he's been investigating the fire and calling on Walmart and other clothing retailers to do something about working conditions in third world sweat shops. The GLHR has made a video looking at working conditions in Bangladesh which shines a light on the shocking conditions the workers face. FMI

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Rob- A simple "products made in the USA" websearch will reveal are any number of online retailers that offer products, including apparel, made in the USA. For gift-giving, I would also suggest in lieu of buying of more "stuff", consider service gifts (babysitting, haircuts, carwashes, oil changes, yard or handyman services, A/C tune-ups, etc.) . They are thoughtful, appreciated and support jobs that are impossible to offshore. They'll also assure those service providers have a more prosperous holiday and new year.

Thanks Tracey! Those are great suggestions. I'm cautious about the 'made in America' could pieces of the item be made over-seas and assembled here, does that qualify as "Made in USA"?