Walt Disney Consumers can play an important role in closing sweatshops, and they have a right to know what companies are using sweatshops to produce their product there are simple steps consumers can take to help fight against the use of sweatshops. Right now many famous companies are using sweatshops readily to save money. However, ironically, the companies that use them are the companies that can afford to spend the extra money for regular labor. Some of these name brand companies include; Nike, Disney, Kathie- Lee Gifford, Gap, Liz Claiborne, Ralph Lauren, and Wal-Mart. Many people have no idea that these companies are using sweatshops.
Disney for example is a very well known company. No one would ever expect that their favorite childhood Disney memory could have been created through sweatshops and child labor. Disney is just one of the many well respected, loved companies with dark secrets. It is hard to believe as a consumer that a company that consumers have grown to trust and love uses such forced labor, with underaged sweatshop employees making consumers favorite characters come to life. Well, Peter and Rochelle Schweizer makes it clear that it could be a possibility: ” The face of Disney the manufacturer is not a pretty one.All too often Disney clothes, toys, and trinkets are made by child laborers. Disney licensees have been caught using child labor on three continents” (245). Many other companies are practicing the same type of labor policies without consumerss knowledge.
If companies feel that sweatshops are a decent and fair way of doing business and have no problems with continuing to use them, they should at least make these reasons public and confront their consumerss concerns. They should let their consumers know why they choose to conduct their business in this manner. Consumers would then have the real information on the product that they choose, and not only what the company wants them to Mueckler 2 know. Consumers would then be able to base their product choice on work place conditions as well as the over all product information.
Some companiess use of sweatshops have been made public.Kathie-Lee Giffords designer clothes company for example was widely evident in the news in 1996. Gifford was shocked when she heard of the sweatshop conditions her company was using.
Since this Gifford has been involved in organizing the Apparel Industry Partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor. This organization tries to crack down on the use of child labor.
This is one example of where the public influenced a company to change its policies.This gives hope that with consumer support other companies can be influenced in similar ways. Disney, however, has not been so noteworthy in their efforts. Disney licensees go out of their way to bring their company to countries such as Burma, where the practice of child labor is a normal everyday event, and they exploit this to create their product as cheaply as possible. Schweizer explains how remote the locations that Disney licensees use, ” For years Disney licensees were manufacturing in a country few Americans could locate on a map. Burma- also known as Myanmar, the name given it by the ruling military junta- is a poverty – stricken nation wedged between India, China, and the lush mountains of Thailand.
” (251).This is an ideal location because so few people are aware of it. This makes it easy for the Disney licensees to continue their business without being detected. Another insight to Burma is that drug lords hold great power and are protected by the government. Disney licensees had to get the permission to have sweatshops in Burma from these drug lords. This shows how the drug lords are the ones with the power in Burma. First companies must win the respect of these drug lords before they are able to work there.
” Burmas attraction as a manufacturing site is obvious: ultracheap labor.” (252). Mueckler 3 When consumers and human rights groups along with labor organizations took action in 1996, they did get a response from Disney.The National Labor Committee and other organizations together made Disneys involvement in Burma public with the Free Burma Campaign. Disney denied these claims. They pretended they had no involvement in Burma. They knew how the negative public announcement would hurt the company, which is the major reason why companies hide the facts from the consumers.
Schweizer explains that many other respectable companies have volunteered to monitor their working conditions, however, Disney is not one of them.This shows that Disney is aware that the problem of sweatshop exists in their licensees operation. Disney may have changed its ways concerning Burma after public protests, but it seems less than interested in tackling the child labor problem. Retailers and manufacturers have been asked by the U.S. Department of Labor to voluntarily pledge to monitor their contractors to make sure no child labor is being used. Dozens of well- known companies have joined, including Abercrombie and Fitch, Guess, Lands End, Lerner New York, Levi Strauss, the Limited, and others. Disney has not (254).
However, Disney continues to be a very hypocritical company by continuing to stay active in UNICEF activities. Yet, Disney can continue to entertain millions of children everyday. It is a shame that the children that are working for them do not receive the same benefits. It is quite possible that they would love to have a short break to enjoy a cute Disney movie. This shows how companies try to rationalize what they know is wrong. Consumers must know that they are being deceived by the image they have of the company.
The company CEOs can no longer ignore the situation. Consumers have to let the companies know that they are aware of this situation. They need to let the companies know that they can not continue to hide the problem. Something needs to be done. Consumers must stop supporting these companies.If the consumers keep on ignoring this, then the companies win.
Consumers have to start fighting Mueckler 4 for those childrens rights because no one else will until someone starts. The children are trapped in a society that encourages this horrible situation. After the consumers get involved, then the companies can not ignore their public. They will have to look for another source of economic growth.
Without the companies there wanting the children to work, they will be set free from these conditions. But we do then face the problem of what the children would do for income. It is horrible to think that the children have to depend on these jobs to live. Although that is the ugly truth, there has to be a way that these children can get into school where they belong. An even better situation outcome would be that the children could get better wages and working conditions.
That would be the ideal situation. The reasons the companies have for using sweatshops must be considered as well. We know that they are feeling pressure to find cheap labor in order to drive up profits. But if the earnings of Michael Eisner are compared to a Haitian worker, as the National Labor Committee states, ” It would take a Haitian worker sewing Disney garments 156 years to earn what Michael Eisner earned in one hour!” (sec.2) Something needs to be done so that the difference between these wages are not so great. The National Labor Committee provides more horrifying statistics to think about; ” Disney reported a record 63% increase on its first quarter profits, Disney TV stations reach one out of every four households in the U.
S., one out of every four movie tickets sold in the U.S.is for a Disney film or for a film distributed by Disney, Disney radio stations reach 123 million people a week” (sec.3).
This shows just a part of the influence the Disney company holds on the U.S. public. It also illustrates the fact that Disney can definitely afford to stay away from child labor and the use of sweatshops to create its products. Many companies are just like Disney this is just one of the many examples.It is important for consumers to know and understand these facts. Consumers are then faced with a decision: to get involved, or to go on ignoring the problem because they feel there is nothing they can do. But without the aid of these consumers, organizations attempts at stopping these companies fail.
The organizations rely on consumer support for their movements. It is also Mueckler 5 important for these organizations to show the consumers how easy it is to get involved and have their opinions and voices heard.All consumerss ideas are important. There are many small steps that the consumers can take to make a difference in the use of sweatshops. The best way would be to get everyone to take just one step. If just a few people took a step a day there would be a tremendous difference. B …