Posts with Category Engaged Consumer

Garment Workers asks: "Does the labor behind the label matter to you?"

I stumbled upon a profile of a woman in Bangladesh who has worked in and around the garment industry for decades. Today she works to give the workers a voice, help secure loans for and educate them.

When I was in Bangladesh I met some former-garment workers turned organizers. It’s right up there on the list of thankless jobs. In many cases, including this woman’s, the organizers have been blacklisted and couldn’t return to the industry if they wanted to.

How much to push before they price their industry out of work? But there is plenty of room for improvement in Bangladesh; wages there are some of the lowest in the world.

I also spent some time with the owners of the factories who are being squeezed pretty…

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At Home in Utopia

With GM and Chrylser going bankrupt there’s a lot of blame that gets directed towards unions.  Unionized labor at GM costs $71 per hour.  In comparions Toyota has no unions and their labor cost is only $47 per hour.

Joann Muller wrote a great piece in Forbes on why the unions aren’t to blame.  She writes that one of the major expenses GM faces aren’t employees being paid that much more than the workers at Japanese automakers, but the legacy costs.

it’s misleading to suggest that Detroit autoworkers are paid $71 an hour. About $17 of that is the cost of health care insurance for retirees. General Motors has 442,000 retirees in North America, four times as many current employees. Toyota has only 371 retirees in…

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A Donut Rant

This morning I was craving me some donuts.  So it began…

“You don’t need any,” the reasonable part of me said, “You’ll be on a sugar high for a few hours and then you’ll crash on the couch worthless for the rest of the day.”

“But I just want two,” the rest of me pleaded.

“How bad do you want them?”

“How about I run first. That’ll wake me up and burn some calories.”


So that’s how the bargaining went down. I ran and then, 45 minutes later, I was standing in Concannon’s Donut shop staring at case after shiny case of glazed, sparkled, filled, iced, and sugared doughy goodness.

I picked my two and stepped to the counter to pay.

I pulled out my credit card.

“Oh,” the donut lady said, “we only take credit cards…

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Where Am I Wearing? Under Armour

Today I’m wearing Spandex.

That’s right Spandex. I just got done jogging.

Before you take your mental picture of me wearing Spandex too far, I better inform you that I’m wearing shorts over my Spandex.  Anyone that wears Spandex  as an outer layer that is not a biker or a wrestler, is either so vain you probably think this post is about you (Don’t you? Don’t  you?) or has let themselves go to such an extent they just don’t give a darn anymore.

Specifically, I’m wearing Under Armour.  I’m a big fan of Under Armour.   I wore them under board shorts when I worked as a dive instructor in Key West.  Trust me, if you spend your days in salt water, sun, and sweat you need all the right armor in all…

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WWII and the Path to Saipan Sweatshops

In the Gary Post Tribune, John Wolf, a WWII vet and minister who served in Saipan wonders if the the bloody beaches were worth it.

Wolf on the sacrifice:

My ship was a part of a large amphibious task force. We carried the 2nd Marine Division and landed them on June 15.

As was our task in previous island invasions, we took on casualties from the beach — nearly 200 in a short time. Some I recognized as the same Marines I had served the sacraments to the night before.

Wolf on what became of Saipan:

Saipan was exempted from U.S. labor and immigration laws, and over the years thousands of people, primarily Chinese women, were brought there as garment workers. They lived in crowded barracks. Saipan became known as “America’s biggest sweatshop.”


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