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Saving the World 101 "My country is the world, and my religion is to do good." - Thomas Paine

International Labor Rights

USA | Saturday, 27 October 2007 | Views [418]

Seven members of the Progressive Student Union, including myself, went to an International Labor Rights conference at the University of Montana on October 27th, 2007. While it was an intensive day of "labor" issues, we met many fascinating people and went to very interesting workshops. I was able to meet Zack Knorr (sp?) one of three national organizers for United Students Against Sweatshops. We had a teleconference with factory workers in the Dominican Republic, whose factory was shut down when they started fighting for fair wages and better treatment at the workplace. Talking with other students from the University of Montana, themselves working on the DSP campaign, was a great time.

We learned a lot from the different speakers, almost too much to put down here. While economics is a nearly impossible field to perfect, and nearly any opinion can be right, the common theme through the conference was the need for human beings to be treated as such. Racism, classism and sexism are the main reason these issues are relegated to the sideline; if wealthy white men were being forced into near slave-labor anywhere in the world, it is impossible that issue would not be known at this point. The idea that this kind of work is "women's work" is the reason more than 80% of the workers in sweatshops are women of color. It is not okay that this is going on, and it was great to be at a conference where everybody found at least that one thing to agree on.

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