|Photograph taken in a 'sweatshop' c.1890 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
B:) A shop or factory in which employees work for long hours at low wages and under unhealthy conditions.
More recently, the anti-globalization movement has arisen in opposition to corporate globalization, a process by which multinational corporations move their operations overseas in order to lower their costs and increase profits. The anti-sweatshop movement has much in common with the anti-globalization movement. Both consider sweatshops harmful, and both have accused many companies (such as the Walt Disney Company, The Gap, and Nike) of using sweatshops. Some in these movements charge that neo liberal globalization is similar to the sweating system, arguing that there tends to be a "race to the bottom", as multinationals leap from one low-wage country to another searching for lower production costs, in the same way that sweaters would have steered production to the lowest cost sub-contractor.
McDonald's, Wal Mart, K-Mart, Sears, Burger King, Lowe's, Home Depot, and plenty of other places can now be considered modern day sweatshops as not one of them pay the majority of their workers anywhere close to a living wage. Most of the workers in these locations are part time, little to no benefits, making barely above minimum wage which comes no where close to a living wage.
A living wage allows for a person to pay their rent or mortgage, car payment, insurance, medical expenses, clothing costs, food, utilities, furniture expenses, and also allows for entertainment expenses and money left over to put into savings for a rainy day. For a single person in the US today, the average income, outside of major metropolitan areas is around $45,000 per year and rising in order to be making a living wage. Again, that is for one person.
Recent complaints in raising the minimum wage to anywhere between $10.00 or $12.00 per hour falls horribly short of coming close to making a living wage. What difference does it make if you pay a person $25.00 per hour if all you are going to work them is 20 hours a week? That is only $500.00 per week before taxes. Rent in most areas throughout the US anymore is going to eat up half of the monthly wages leaving very little left for anyone to try and survive with.
The days of the 40 hour work week are for most, a buried memory, left in the dust of yesteryear. Businesses are paying less and less of the benefits for employees and paying low wages to boot. It's a mix that simply does not work. That makes Wal Mart, Target, Subway, Chick-Fil-A and others the new modern sweatshops and tens of millions of people are stuck in the rut of these new deals.
It's time for some new thinking about.....well.....every aspect of modern society.