No Sweat: Fashion, Free Trade, and the Rights of Garment Workers

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Andrew Ross
Verso, 1997 - Business & Economics - 313 pages
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A hard-hitting expose of the fashion world you don't see on the catwalk. Are you aware that the T-shirt or the running shoes you are wearing may have been produced by children as young as 13 years old, working 14-hour days for 30 cents an hour? Don't be reassured by a label that claims the item was manufactured in the USA or Europe. It could have been sewn in Haiti or Indonesia -- or in a domestic sweatshop where conditions rival those in the Third World. The label may tell you how to treat the garment, but it says nothing of how the worker who made it was treated. To find out about that you need to read this book. No Sweat shows you: * How Nike's celebrity spokeman Michael Jordan earned more for endorsing Nike running shoes that then company's 200,000-strong Asian workforce get between them in a year. * How Disney boss Michael Eisner's annual pay and stock options, worth $200 million, are partly paid for out of profits from the sale of Pocahontas and Hunchback of Notre Dame T-shirts made by Haitian teenagers who work for less than $10 per week and are force-fed contraceptive pills. * How campaigning by the New York-based Netional Labor Committee, the American workers' union UNITE and US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich has forced embarrasing climb-downs by companies like GAP and Wal-Mart caught using sweated labor. * How the European-based Clean Clothes Campaign has linked up with charities such as Oxfam to raise the issue of codes of conduct with manufacturers and retailers in the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France. * How you can join the growing global campaign of consumer groups, human rights activists and international labor organizations to close down the sweatshops and guarantee basic rights for those who cut and sew our clothes. In hard-hitting words and pictures, No Sweat tells the story of the chasm between the glamour of the catwalk and the squalor of the sweatshop. Don't go shopping without it. Contributors include JoAnn Mort and Alan Howard (UNITE), Julie Su, Charlie Kernaghan and the National Labor Committee (edited by Kitty Krupat), Bud Konheim (interviewed by Sally Singer), Mike Piore, John Cavanagh, MacKenzie Wark, Angela McRobbie, Robin Givhan, Paul Smith.
  

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Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
1
Lina Rodriguez Meza Testimony
2
Andrew Ross Introduction
9
John Cavanagh The Global Resistance to Sweatshops
39
Kitty Krupat From War Zone to Free Trade Zone
51
Charles Kernaghan Paying to Lose Our Jobs
79
National Labor Committee An Appeal to Walt Disney
95
Elinor Spielberg The Myth of Nimble Fingers
113
Steve Nutter The Structure and Growth of the Los Angeles Garment Industry
199
Clean Clothes Campaigns in Europe
215
Eyal Press Sweatshopping
221
McKenzie Wark Fashion as a Culture Industry
227
Paul Smith Tommy Hilfiger in the Age of Mass Customization
249
Robin Civhan The Problem with Ugly Chic
263
Angela McRobbie A New Kind of Rag Trade?
275
Postscript
291

An Interview with Bud Konheim
123
Michael Piore The Economics of the Sweatshop
135
Slave Sweatshops
143
Alan Howard Labor History and Sweatshops in the New Global Economy
151
Defending the Union Contract
173
JoAnn Mort They Want to Kill Us for a Little Money
193
No Sweat Fashion List Department of Labor
298
Notes
299
Contributors
310
Photo credits
312
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

Andrew Ross is Professor and Director of the Graduate Program in American Studies at New York University. His books include No Respect, Strange Weather, The Chicago Gangster Theory of Life; the editor of Universal Abandon?; and the co-editor of Microphone Fiends.

Angela McRobbie is Professor of Communications at Goldsmiths College, University of London.

McKenzie Wark is the author of A Hacker Manifesto, Gamer Theory, 50 Years of Recuperation of the Situationist International and The Beach Beneath the Street, among other books. He teaches at the New School for Social Research and Eugene Lang College in New York City.

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