In Newark, New Jersey, Catholic school students will no longer wear uniforms and athletic clothes produced in sweatshops and will be encouraged not to buy other sweatshop-produced clothes, said Labor Secretary Alexis Herman and Archbishop Theodore McCarrick yesterday.
The archdiocese will teach an anti-sweatshop curriculum to 24,000 students in grades 7-12. The authors hope that by building awareness, children will be encouraged to be more responsible consumers. Schools in other states have shown interest, and the New Jersey diocese plans to expand their anti-sweatshop program to elementary school students.
The curriculum was introduced after a study revealed that a majority of New York City’s garment factories are violating federal labor laws. The Department of Labor has ordered that $412,300 in back wages be paid to over 1,400 workers New Jersey labor officials say the state has about 300 sweatshops, many of which hire illegal immigrants and pay them less than minimum wage. McCarrick said that school clothing suppliers will have to prove that they follow labor laws.
Feminists Against Sweatshops