Garment factory workers to discuss working conditions

Workers from Bangladesh will discuss the current working conditions in their garment factories Tuesday in the Student Activities Center (SAC), when the United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) Worker Tour comes to the University of Miami.

USAS frequently puts on such events to engage students and actively spread its message on college campuses.

“As we have a working relationship with USAS, it was proposed that the worker tour make its first stop at UM, an event that is unprecedented for the University of Miami,” said Rebecca Garcia, president of UM’s chapter of Students Toward a New Democracy (STAND).

USAS has started this campaign in the hopes of raising awareness about the conditions faced by many factory workers in various countries. Its goal is to “fight sweatshop conditions such as poverty wages, forced overtime, sexual harassment, union busting, and health and safety violations in the global apparel industry.”

According to the USAS website, the campaign demands that its universities tell apparel companies to disclose factory locations where their apparel is made.

As a group of students themselves, USAS is committed to organizing campaigns that tour different campuses around the country. Such tours aim to attract more students to join in building a movement to fight apparel industries with poor factory conditions in sweatshops.

“I hope that this event will shed light on the egregious labor abuses that occur in the sweatshop apparel industry, not only specifically to Bangladesh, but to workers who face similar situations across the globe,” Garcia said.

The campaign focuses on obtaining fair wages, safe working conditions and the right to form workers’ unions for factory workers in apparel industries. The campaigns use an effective three-step strategy when on college campuses.

USAS also encourages the universities to set labor rules for the companies that produce its apparel. Additionally, it requires that its schools affiliate with the Worker Rights Consortium, an organization that monitors the apparel industry.

STAND is joining the efforts to ask the university to supply the bookstore with more sweatshop-free apparel, according to Garcia.

“We hope that this event will help to promote our overall cause and assist with achieving the ulterior objectives…” Garcia said.

All interested in learning more about the campaign are encouraged to attend the event at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the SAC Senate Room or visit

February 23, 2015


Cody Brown

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