UU Women and Religion

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Action Item: Sweatshops and CAFTA by Mary Rose Curtis

According to the National Labor Committee, young women in Guatemala toil in illegal sweatshops under abusive conditions at Nicotex, a factory that sews Briggs New York and Lane Bryant clothing.

The United States' Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is undermined by lack of labor rights enforcement and corruption. American women unknowingly purchase clothing made by women who are being exploited.  They work 72 hours weekly with 25 hours of routine overtime.  It takes 10.2 minutes to sew a Briggs New York blouse for which they are paid 19.5 cents.

These women are trapped in extreme poverty, earning 76 cents to $1.15 an hour. They're cheated out of health and maternity care, for which they are forced to pay even though it's guaranteed under Guatemalan law.

There is no corporate code of conduct. The Nicotex sweatshop is just another example of how the CAFTA agreement has failed to enforce even Guatemala's minimum labor laws.

Contact your U.S. Representative and Senators by calling 202/225-3121 for the House and 202/225-3121 for the Senate.