This name is given to a factory or workplace that operates under unsafe and/or unlawful working conditions and/or employs minors. The name is derived from the hot rooms in which the employed unskilled laborers performed piecework. The name "sweater" was given to the middleman who directed operations for the factory and who often subcontracted to other sweatshops. The "sweating system" was often associated with low pay, long hours, and overcrowded, rat-infested working conditions, which sometimes included child labor. In 1850-1900, immigrants from many countries ended up working in sweatshops in places like New York's Lower East Side and England's East London. Anti-sweatshop campaigns began in the late eighteenth century with the abolition of slavery in France in 1794, Britain in 1834 (Factory Act of 1833), and in the United States in 1865. In 1884, the U.S. Department of Labor was founded. A strike in the United States by 60,000 cloak makers, known as the Great Revolt, resulted in the Protocol of Peace, a settlement whereby workers received a fifty-hour work week, double pay for overtime, and higher wages. It also initiated the "closed shop" concept, whereby employers could only hire union employees. However, in 1911, the world came to know the dangers of sweatshops when the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire killed 146 workers and ultimately resulted in the first workplace health and safety laws in the United States. In the early 1900s, the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) and the Women's Trade Union League (WTUL) lobbied for passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which created minimum wage laws and other laws protecting workers from unsafe working conditions.
   However, neither trade unions nor labor laws have been completely successful in eliminating sweatshops worldwide. As of 1994, there were still thousands of sweatshops operating in the United States, centered mostly in New York's Chinatown and surrounding boroughs, and in Los Angeles, as well as in other cities with large immigrant populations. In developing countries such as India, Honduras, Pakistan, China, and Vietnam, the problem is even greater. Indeed, due to globalization, there are millions of people—mainly women and children—heavily concentrated in the garment and textile industries. Anti-globalization activists—including the group United Students Against Sweatshops and labor unions UNITE HERE and the AFL-CIO—exposed companies such as Gap, Wal-Mart, and Nike, among others, which used sweatshops in developing countries. They sought legislation to hold these companies accountable for abuse violations and for the increase in domestic sweatshops that arise from having to compete with overseas sweatshops. While proponents of sweatshops argue that sweatshop-produced goods are a way of raising the standard of living, few would argue that the shops benefit workers at all.
   See also Minimum wage; Trade Unions.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sweatshop — in Chicago 1903 Ein Sweatshop bzw. Ausbeutungsbetrieb ist eine abwertende Bezeichnung für Fabriken bzw. Manufakturen, üblicherweise in einem Entwicklungsland, in denen Menschen zu Niedriglöhnen arbeiten. Multinationale Konzerne lagern ihre… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • sweatshop — sweat‧shop [ˈswet ʆɒp ǁ ʆɑːp] noun [countable] disapproving a small business, factory etc where people work very hard in poor conditions for very low pay: • My prices are competitive but I can t compete with the sweatshops. * * * sweatshop UK US… …   Financial and business terms

  • sweatshop — 1892, from SWEAT (Cf. sweat) + SHOP (Cf. shop) (n.) …   Etymology dictionary

  • sweatshop — ► NOUN ▪ a factory or workshop employing workers for long hours in poor conditions …   English terms dictionary

  • sweatshop — ☆ sweatshop [swet′shäp΄ ] n. a shop where employees work long hours at low wages under poor working conditions …   English World dictionary

  • Sweatshop — A sweatshop is a working environment with very difficult or dangerous conditions, usually where the workers have few rights or ways to address their situation. This can include exposure to harmful materials, hazardous situations, extreme… …   Wikipedia

  • Sweatshop — Atelier de misère Dans un sweatshop à Chicago aux États Unis en 1930. Un atelier de misère[1] …   Wikipédia en Français

  • sweatshop — UK [ˈswetˌʃɒp] / US [ˈswetˌʃɑp] noun [countable] Word forms sweatshop : singular sweatshop plural sweatshops informal a factory where people work very hard in bad conditions and earn very little money …   English dictionary

  • sweatshop — /swet shop /, n. a shop employing workers at low wages, for long hours, and under poor conditions. [1865 70; SWEAT + SHOP] * * * ▪ labour  workplace in which workers are employed at low wages and under unhealthy or oppressive conditions. In… …   Universalium

  • sweatshop — noun Sweatshop is used before these nouns: ↑labour …   Collocations dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.