Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

You Are What You......Wear? (Morgan Massey, #8, 3/3)

If it’s not okay for Americans, it shouldn’t be okay for anyone else. It seems kind of hypocritical to stand so firmly on laws and issues regarding workers safety and fair pay here in America, while also contribution to the exact opposite overseas.

When America was a developing country there were a lot of years spent striking and rioting for fair pay and safe working environments. Two men, Andrew Carnegie and John Rockefeller, monopolized the steel and oil industry, the two ruling industries of this time period. They desired to make most of the profit from their companies themselves and paid their workers very little. The people working in the factories had nowhere else to work, and therefor felt powerless. Factory workers worked long hard hours, many days of the week, received little pay, and worked in dangerous death-trap factories. One of the most heinous incidences that occurred during this time period was the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. This fire occurred in a clothing factory and took the lives of nearly 200 people. The owners of the factory were well aware that the building was unsafe, yet never even attempted repairs. The owners of the factory were in the habit of locking the workers (most of which were women) inside of the factory so they wouldn’t try and take unauthorized breaks. When the fire struck, the majority of the workers were locked inside and without sufficient fire escapes were either forced to burn alive or jump off windows from incredible heights only to be met with hard pavement below.  The men who owned and ran the factory walked away scott-free, no one ever paid the price for all of the innocent lives that were lost. 

This story is one of the darker ones of American history.  It helped to change the way the workforce in America was conducted. It would be incredibly insane to ever think about going back to such a dark time.....but have we ever really left it?

In 2012 a fire broke out in a factory in Bangladesh. The companies that this particular factory supplied goods to included the U.S Marines and Wal-Mart. 117 people were killed and over 200 were injured. The owners of the factory knew about the dangers of this building, but did nothing to repair it. In an attempt to escape the fire, many workers jumped from the top of the building to their deaths, others escaped, while many were killed in the fire. This story sounds painfully familiar to the early 1900's Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.

(watch a clip here) https://youtu.be/zuDFWMg8dl8

I believe it is our responsibility to put and end to this. To stop supporting companies that purchase goods from sweatshops in other countries. I believe that we are all one planet and one people, that our gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and socioeconomic status should never deny us from basic human rights. We should all have a right to safety, to fairness, to being treated like a human being a not a number in a factory. I believe we must all educate ourselves on how we can help our fellow people who may not be as privileged as we are. I believe that we should do everything in life with love. Love for ourselves and love for our fellow humans. I believe if I were a factory worker in Bangladesh making a dollar a day, I would desperately want someone to stand up and be a voice for me, to make a change for me.  I believe we can make a change.

Post Number One: http://cophilosophy.blogspot.com/2015/11/you-are-what-youwear-8-morgan-massey.html
Post Number Two: http://cophilosophy.blogspot.com/2015/12/you-are-what-youwear-8-morgan-massey.html

The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/introduction/triangle-intro/

Bangladesh Fire: http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/25/world/asia/bangladesh-factory-fire/

Want to watch an amazing documentary? http://truecostmovie.com (available on netfilx and amazon)
Want to know where to buy fair trade clothing? http://fairtradeusa.org/products-partners/apparel (also hit up your local thrift stores and help the earth too!)

1 comment:

  1. Peter Singer would be proud. With minimal personal sacrifice, we can all do as you suggest and inform ourselves about the horrible working & living conditions our neglect and inattention force onto other humans... and spend our consumer dollars accordingly.