Globalization of Labor China Sweatshops Term Paper

Pages: 10 (2890 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 17  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Careers

¶ … labor in China as it pertains to sweatshops and unions. The writer explores what sweatshops are, why they still exist in that nation and what the American labor movement is doing to try and stop them. There were six sources used to complete this paper.


As the world continues to globalize what was previously kept hidden away as secrets now becomes visible. This has been an eye opener in the area of labor as workers worldwide begin to compare notes and decide if their treatment matches the treatment of those in other nations. China has always been known for its "sweatshop" labor mentality and recent years have only served to uncover the true extent of that mentality. Workers in that country now have access to the outside world and as they become more familiar with the way other nations treat their labor forces they are beginning to rise up and demand change in China. China has tried to hold onto the many year old tradition of running sweatshop, particularly in the manufacturing department and while trying to proclaim to the world that improvements are being made, evidence to the contrary continues to surface. Union leaders in America need to take heed as to the practices that are occurring in China, especially in light of the popular trend for companies to move their manufacturing operations overseas.

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Term Paper on Globalization of Labor China Sweatshops Assignment

For many years sweatshops were simply an accepted fact of life for workers in China. They operated the way they wanted to and if the workers did not want to comply with the substandard attitude and working conditions they would lose their positions and there was always someone there willing to take their place. When an entire nation condones an attitude and it spreads like a bad cancer throughout the work world the workers don't have anywhere to turn for relief, and if they want to support themselves and their family members they must comply with whatever is expected of them by their companies. In recent years however, the globalization process has allowed workers worldwide to observe the way other countries deal with and implement labor practices. Workers in China have now had the opportunity to see that employees in other nations are not only protected by the companies that they work for but they also are afforded various standards of protection through their federal, state and local governments.

Millions of Chinese workers have discovered that Americans have many benefits from working, including decent wages, retirement plans, social security, unemployment insurance and the chance for advancement. This growing knowledge has caused China's previously compliant sweatshop workers to begin demanding changes in their own employment situations.


Before one can begin to analyze and affect change in the Chinese labor force when it comes to sweatshop mentality it is important to have an understanding of what a sweatshop is.

Through the years the term sweatshop has been used to define a certain set of characteristics in the workplace (Frequently Asked Questions About Sweatshops and Women Workers ( the American definition of the term "The Department of Labor defines a work place as a sweatshop if it violates two or more of the most basic labor laws including child labor, minimum wage, overtime and fire safety laws. For many, the word sweatshop conjures up images of dirty, cramped, turn of the century New York tenements where immigrant women worked as seamstresses. High-rise tenement sweatshops still do exist, but, today, even large, brightly-lit factories can be the sites of rampant labor abuses (Frequently Asked Questions About Sweatshops and Women Workers ("

Sweatshops in China are similar to those that used to be common in the United States. The working conditions are substandard to the point of being harmful sometimes.

Sweatshop workers report horrible working conditions including sub-minimum wages, no benefits, non-payment of wages, forced overtime, sexual harassment, verbal abuse, corporal punishment, and illegal firings (Frequently Asked Questions About Sweatshops and Women Workers ("

In sweatshops in China children are often found working instead of attending to their educational needs. In addition many women are routinely forced to agree to take birth control so that they do not get pregnant. If they are unfortunate to get pregnant anyway or they become pregnant by refusing to take birth control they are fired the instant the pregnancy is discovered. There are now laws to protect them from such action being taken.

Sweatshop operators can best control a pool of workers that are ignorant of their rights as workers. Therefore, bosses often refuse to hire unionized workers and intimidate or fire any worker suspected of speaking with union representatives or trying to organize her fellow workers (Frequently Asked Questions About Sweatshops and Women Workers ("

The sweatshops that used to dot the U.S. are slowly being shut down as they are discovered, causing companies that wish to practice such poor labor tactics to move their operations to countries that will turn a blind eye to their existence. This means that China not only has the Chinese filled shops, but it also has become host to many American sweatshops that were run out of the country.

Corporations have been fleeing countries with relatively prosperous economies and stable, democracies in droves not only to take advantage of cheap labor, but to escape government scrutiny and criticism from human rights and workers' rights organizations (Frequently Asked Questions About Sweatshops and Women Workers ("

While there are still sweatshops in America, an estimated 50% of the garment industry is reported to be run with sweatshops, the majority of the worlds lowest form of employment can be found in China according to recently released statistical information.

Nike has been recently criticized for its refusal to shut down what onlookers allege are its sweatshops. It has escaped scrutiny by moving to China and other nations that will turn a blind eye to the company practices.

With the United States government cracking down on sweatshops within its borders, and companies moving their operations to China to avoid human rights issues it behooves American labor leaders and union organizations to work on helping Chinese workers gain control over their work environment for the eventual protection of American workers who find themselves transferred there. In addition the shutting down of sweatshops in China will have a positive impact on the American economy when it no longer becomes cost efficient for companies to manufacture there, and have to turn to domestic workers and facilities to make their products.


While the United States continues to search out and shut down its sweatshops, attention turns to locating and shutting down the Chinese sweatshops.

With China reportedly being the most populated nation on earth the worker pool is enormous as compared to the employee pool in other areas of the world. It is common worldwide knowledge that workers in China are for the most part underpaid, poorly treated and taken advantage of. Recently China invited American union leaders to tour its companies and see how employees are treated by their superiors.

The invitation was extended by Chinese vice-premier Wu Yi during her visit to the U.S. last month. It came in response to claims by AFL-CIO that China keeps labor costs down by violating workers' rights. The union earlier this year said China's artificially low wage levels had lured away hundreds of thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs, and called on Washington to respond with economic sanctions (U.S. union to tour China factories ("

While China claimed the allegations were false evidence continued to emerge from that nation that millions of workers there are being mistreated in the country's sweatshop.

Labor advocates across the globe have been demanding that practices change in China's hundreds of thousands of companies that can be defined as sweatshops.

Around the globe industries have been closing down shop and shifting that interest to China so that they can escape fine, direction or mandates about how they treat the people that they hire (China and the American Anti-Sweatshop Movement (

Millions watched TV star Kathie Lee Gifford on national television as she tearfully apologized for clothes bearing her label having been made in sweatshops in Latin America (China and the American Anti-Sweatshop Movement ("

While her case brought international attention to the issue there are hundreds of thousands of identical sweatshops throughout China employing many millions of men, women and children who are trapped in a cycle that they cannot break. The pay is so substandard that they often find they have to live with dozens of other people in a single home so that they can afford to buy food. Even given this effort the food that they can afford is often substandard therefore the nutritional needs are not being met. This cycle is difficult to break as they do not make enough money to provide for their families while they begin new jobs or careers.

International organizations aimed at demanding social and corporate responsibility are being… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Globalization of Labor China Sweatshops" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Globalization of Labor China Sweatshops.  (2006, May 25).  Retrieved April 12, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Globalization of Labor China Sweatshops."  25 May 2006.  Web.  12 April 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Globalization of Labor China Sweatshops."  May 25, 2006.  Accessed April 12, 2021.