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America's History in the Making

Resource Archive: Search Results

Sweatshop Labor in the Nineties

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Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press, ENTERTAINER KATHIE LEE GIFFORD (1996). Courtesy of AP/Wideworld.

Creator Wilfredo Lee/The Associated Press
Context Kathie Lee Gifford testified before the House International Relations Subcommittee about lending her name to Wal-Mart for a line of clothing made by children in Honduran sweatshops
Audience The House International Relations Subcommittee and television viewers
Purpose To show child-labor-law violations by American companies

Historical Significance

In 1995, investigators from the National Labor Committee found teenagers sewing clothes at a sweatshop in Honduras. Kathie Lee Gifford lent her name to a line of clothing from Wal-Mart, which was later discovered to be made these workers. The press coverage revealed one of the problems associated with globalization: Manufacturers circumvented United States labor laws by moving their factories outside of the country. "The race to the bottom" was a competition between countries to lure corporate employers in order to secure jobs, regardless of how poor the working conditions. The poorer the country was--and the weaker its safety, health, and environmental laws--the more attractive it was to a corporation's bottom line.


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