Sunday, January 08, 2006

Action Alert

[bummer...these are comfy shoes...but I'll never own any now!]

Workers making New Balance sneakers at the Hongyuan Shoe factory in China are being paid just 41 cents an hour, while they are forced to work grueling 14 ½ to 15.8-hour shifts, six and seven days a week. There is no regularly scheduled day off. Workers are routinely at the factory 96 hours a week. Workers are forced to work 36 hours of overtime each week, but then cheated of their legal overtime pay. Workers are fined 1 ½ hours’ wages for each minute they are late. Workers who bring “outsiders into the factory,” disseminate “rumors” or encourage strikes will be immediately fired and face criminal charges. Workers are housed in primitive, crowded dorm rooms sleeping in triple-level bunk beds. Women workers must shower in front of the men. The sickening smell of plastic fumes hangs heavy in the factory air, and in some departments the noise level is so high workers have to shout and gesture with their hands to be understood. Workers say factory food is so awful they have to force themselves to swallow it—including rice contaminated with rat feces. Workers must pay for the water they drink in the factory.

Click here to read the full report.


defragme said...

That's terrible...but, I wonder--how many of our favorite running shoe brands get their labor from similar places? Can you even buy a decent pair of running shoes that aren't made in slave-labor conditions?

Anonymous said...

That is just shocking! :(

Anonymous said...

A quick Google search found these non-sweatshop sneakers, but I couldn't vouch for their quality and you don't seem able to get them in many places. Plus, as a runner myself, I wouldn't use either of the shoes offered as dedicated running gear.

Jenny said...


Awful and... awful.

I'll take this opportunity to promote No Sweat. They don't make any high performance athletic shoes, but they do make the always-hip Chuck Taylor style. I own a pair of the Code Pink high tops and they are durable and awesome, plus anti-war and feminist. Plus, they're union-made. Everyone wins!

But those shoes aren't really meant for serious athletic endeavours, so I'll check out pisco's non-sweatshop sneaker list for future reference.