The apparel industry has a long history of widespread abuses from top to bottom. Sweatfree Communities defines a sweatshop as a “workplace where workers face very poor conditions, including poverty wages, exceedingly long hours, unsafe and unsanitary environments, harassment and discrimination. Sweatshops offer employees few benefits, and frequently fire workers for involvement in unions and in the event of pregnancy or injury.” Years of organizing by apparel workers, students and other allies have propelled the plight of apparel workers to the forefront of ethical consumer awareness, and provided such consumers, universities and government institutions sweatfree apparel alternatives.
The Worker Rights Consortium (WRC) is an independent labor rights? monitoring organization that investigates working conditions in factories around the globe to combat sweatshops and protect the rights of workers who make apparel and other products. The WRC also issues public reports on factories producing for major brands, and aids workers at these factories in their efforts to end labor abuses and defend their workplace rights.