Free Essay

Costs and Consequences: Sweated Labor and Consumer Bargains

In: Other Topics

Submitted By scheek555
Words 373
Pages 2
In order to make a wide variety of goods available at ever-decreasing prices or to maintain profits, retailers rely on low labor costs and working conditions that are often illegal in the United States. However, should these injustices and abuses be frequently shared? Will American consumers stop shopping at Walmart, for example, who have been known to violate the labor code (Kenny, p. 454)? Not likely. Why? Consumers prefer “rollback savings” and do not consider the “sweated labor” experienced by workers in factories throughout Central America, China, East Asia, and Southeast Asia (Johnson, p. 68). Unfortunately, workers in these areas choose to be exploited in labor and sacrifice their health (Johnson, p. 69) rather than not work at all. These sweatshop conditions are a consequence of globalization. According to Johnson (2014), globalization facilitates the movement of materials, goods, and ideas across continents and national borders. As such, cheap labor offerings allow the flow of inexpensive goods and profit, which Americans value. Moreover, advocates and corporations believe they are helping workers in these developing countries when they buy the products these workers make (Johnson, p. 77). Although the elevating consumption of food and clothing are different from the media products that require less of a local commitment of resources, such as sewing a pair of “Faded Glory” jeans in contrast with printing a “Spider-Man” comic book, sweated labor is the violation of rights of the marginalized workers who do not know their rights. Should we boycott abusive companies (e.g. Walmart, The Gap, etc.), demand corporate accountability, buy only union-made goods, and/or be willing to pay higher prices for goods to ensure fair wages for factory workers? Can our ethical shopping’s influence economic policies? In closing, based on the information in the “Student Voice” section of Chapter 2, pp. 79–80, of our textbook, some Americans are beginning to question our participation in the unequally distributed benefits of free trade.

Johnson, J. (2014). Global Issues, Local Arguments: Reading for Writing. Upper Saddle River: Pearson.

Kenny, K. E. (2007). Code or Contract: Whether Wal-Mart's Code of Conduct Creates a Contractual Obligation Between Wal-Mart and the Employees of its Foreign Suppliers. Northwestern Journal Of International Law & Business, 27453.…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Labor Unions

...Labor Unions — Are They Still Relevent Labor Unions were formed in the mid-19th century in response to the changes brought on by the Industrial Revolution. The labor unions were established to help workers with low pay, unsafe working conditions and long hours—to name a few. Their main goal was to ensure that all working people were treated justly in the work force. “Working people have a lot of concerns in this economy. They want decent pay. They want benefits. And of course they want job security. All the reasons why they need union representation” (Crane, 2012). Is that statement still true today? Do labor unions want the best for the working person or are unions another example of something good gone bad? Many people believe Labor Unions were essential in the 19th century but now with government oversight and business practices, unions are no longer required. Labor Unions Needed Agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions during the Industrial Revolution. As the revolution progressed, business moved from a mom-and-pop model to a machine-and-factory production model. Families quickly moved from the rural areas to the cities. They hoped to improve their standard of living. This meant ever member of the family had to work, regardless of sex or age. People worked for long hours for low wages, in dangerous and repetitive conditions, and with little-to-no......

Words: 2423 - Pages: 10

Free Essay

Does the Consumer Price Index Overstate Inflation and Changes in the Cost of Living?

...the end of 1996, a study of the Consumer Price Index was done under the leadership of Michael Boskin in which they declared that the CPI has been overstated and that the index should have been at a rate of 1.8% as opposed to the reported amount of 2.9%. His report also included that the CPI had been overstated similarly of the past twenty years. The finding in his report shows that the government was doing a good job at controlling inflation and that productivity was higher than previously reported. Since our government uses index to adjust stats such as GDP per capita, a reduction in CPI shows our economic performance as improved. We cannot afford to take his report into consideration as there are many flaws and deceptions in his findings. The CPI is made up of many details below are a few key points that will help that will help to reveal the flaws and deceptions regarding Boskin’s determination. Wrong Market Basket The BLS conducts a survey every ten years on consumer behavior in order to set up a weighted “market basket of goods and services” that is supposed to represent outlays of the average citizen and is adjusted for any changes they find in lifestyle. These adjustments only consider two lifestyles the CPI-W which represents living conditions for lower middle class and poor urban household getting their income from wages and salaries as clerical non-executive workers, and the CPI-U which represents non-wealthy urban consumers inclusive of wage earners,......

Words: 745 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Recommendations for the Rising Cost of Labor

...the Rising Cost of Labor An increase in a small business’ labor cost can mean a decrease in the efficiency with which the business generates output using certain inputs. The increase in unit labor cost may result in higher expenses compared to revenue. Unless Guillermo decreases other expenses or increases his selling prices to increase his revenue his profit will decrease. Guillermo will need to investigate the cause to determine how he can decrease his unit labor cost and regain his previous level of productivity. With the development of the fire retardant and stain resistant coating adding value to Guillermo’s furniture pieces, he may be able to increase his selling price for his pieces of furniture; however he will need to ensure his pricing it not out of the realm of market value for his pieces to prevent sales from declining as well. To reduce costs, Guillermo may want to take a look at restructuring the work and workload for his furniture manufacturing. Becoming more efficient may impact manufacturing costs, which could help to offset labor costs. Assumptions about real world loan costs Guillermo’s building was financed 12 years ago at 7.5% and 80% LTV. According to Mexico’s current interest rates are around 4.5%. This is 3% lower than what Guillermo mortgaged his building at 12 years ago. It may be in Guillermo’s best interest to research the possibility of refinancing his mortgage for a lower interest rate to save on his overall costs.......

Words: 653 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Labor Relations

...Labor Relations Labor relations can refer generally to any association between workers and management about employment circumstances. Most frequently, labor relations refers to dealings involving a workforce that is already unionized and management, or has the potential to become unionized. Labor relations are vital to organizations. The National Labor Relations Act was passed in the 1930s, which gave workers the right to bargain collectively and form unions in the United States ( To begin to understand the contributions of unions and their effects on organizations, we must first determine what unions are and what their role has been in labor relations and the nation’s organizations. Labor unions are groups formed by laborers who share a certain characteristics. Characteristics such as the industry, the type of work they do, and who agree that the union will act as their spokesperson or negotiator in all matters dealing with employment involving the employees and their respective employers. By forming unions, employees individually are able to work concurrently to negotiate with their employers to promote every member of the union. The course of bargaining for mutually beneficial benefits or agreements, and the communication between employees and their employers during that process and after that process, are what forms the basis of labor relations. Labor relations cover all aspects of an organization and of......

Words: 3438 - Pages: 14

Free Essay

Managing Labor Cost

...Assignment 9: Managing Labor Cost Cheryl Cunningham Professor Laura Sankovich Compensation and Benefits Management June 9, 2013 INTRODUCTION “There are two major approaches to coming up with budgets for any home, small business, or larger company: the traditional method of budgeting is known as bottom-up budgeting, though many businesses and corporations, along with the United States government, are moving towards more top-down budgeting, particularly during times of fiscal stress (Peterson, 2012).” BOTTOM UP The components of the Bottom Up approach are as follows: Instruct managers in compensation policies and techniques, distribute forecasting instructions and worksheets, provide consultations to managers, check data and compile reports. Analyze forecasts, review and revise forecasts and budgets with management, conduct feedback with management and monitor budgeted versus actual increases. TOP DOWN Top down approach the budget starts with an assessment from upper management of the pay increase budget for the whole organization. Once the total budget is determined, it is then distributed to each manager, who plans how to dispense it among assistants. Planned pay-level rise is another approach of top down which is the percentage increase in average pay for the unit that is planned to happen. There are several factors that come into play on how much increase the average pay level for the next period and they are as follows: how much the average......

Words: 627 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Child Labor

...| Essay, Custom Research Paper: Argumentative Essay on Child Labor Laws and Regulations | | | | Child labor occurs along a continuum, with harmful and exploitative work that endangers the welfare and potential of the child at one end of the spectrum and light work and often beneficial training and apprenticeship at the other. National and international labor standard regulations with respect to what constitutes a legally permissible minimum age of employment accordingly depend typically on a range of criteria including (a) the type of work, as distinguished by the degree of hazard a child faces, or whether the child is subject to exploitation, or the worst forms of child labor; (b) the sector of employment, whether in agriculture, manufacturing, or family businesses or the household; and (c) the degree to which child labor work interferes with schooling, depending on the number of hours a child is put to work, say, per week.Though child labor statistics inevitably paint an aggregate picture, the coverage of national and international statistics has improved, reflecting a diversity of activities that come under the umbrella of child labor work. International Labour Organization (ILO) statistics treat any child as economically active with performance of at least 1 hour of work during the week prior to asurvey. The ILO also defines a child laborer as synonymous with (a) an economically active person between the ages of 5 and 11, and (b) an individual between the ages of......

Words: 1491 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Managing the Cost of Labor

...Seven—Managing the Cost of Labor 1. Why is managing the cost of labor essential to the success of any F&B operation? In some foodservice establishments, the cost of labor actually exceeds the cost of food and beverage products. Today’s competitive labor market indicates that, in the future, foodservice managers will find it even more difficult to recruit, train, and retain an effective team of employees. 2. What is the difference between fixed payroll and variable payroll? Fixed payroll refers to the amount an operation pays in salaries. Variable payroll consists of those dollars paid to hourly employees. 3. There are many ways to assess labor productivity. In general, productivity is measured in terms of the productivity ratio. Please show that ratio below: Output/ Input = Productivity ratio 4. Employee turnover is high in some sections of the hospitality industry. By some estimates, it exceeds 200% per year. What is the formula to measure employee turnover? Number of Employees Separated Number of Employees in Workforce = Employee Turnover rate 5. List five of the ten Key Factors Affecting Employee Productivity as described in the text: * Employee selection * Training * Supervision * Scheduling * Breaks 6. According to the text what are the five ways to measure labor productivity? * Labor cost percentage * Sales per labor hour * Labor dollars per guest served * Guests served per labor......

Words: 362 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Labor Unions

...Labor Unions Objective Labor unions in the United States have been prevailing forces in the workplace since their establishment in the late 1800’s. The two main purposes for unions are union security and overall improvement in wages, working conditions and benefits for their members. While only 12% of the U.S. workforce today is under union contract; they still are establish a presence by way of strikes, mediation and impasses. Unions will form when employees believe that company management is practicing unfair labor standards and acts and will take action accordingly to meet their goals. This report will look into the history and implications labor unions have had on the U.S. workforce and what they mean for both companies and employees alike in today’s world. General History Famous Labor Strikes The Great Postal Strike of 1970 involved 200,000 postal workers who walked off the job to protest their pay rates, which when accounted barely surpassed the average cost of living in the United States during that time period (in accordance with inflationary rates). President Nixon sent 23,000 U.S. army and marine personnel to handle the mail system, but that failed due to the limited training they possessed working with the massive government operation. Within a week, the government reached an agreement with the worker’s union, allowing for a 14% pay raise for postal workers. As a result, the American Postal Workers Union became a powerful force in......

Words: 2274 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Collective Bargain

...responsibilities: management rights, just cause discipline and discharge, subcontracting, safety standards. (Budd, p. 11) According to ABC News, Brian Bennett from ESPN talked about Northwestern players get Union Vote. The NLRB ruled that Northwestern Football players qualify as an employee of the university and can unionize. This was accepted after three years member colleges and universities have worked to re-evaluate the current rules. This is beneficial for employees in this case the athlete and employer in this case university. The player is an employee since the player sign a contract for the university and as result obtain a scholarship. For now, the push is to unionize athletes at private schools, such as Northwestern, because the federal labor agency does not have jurisdiction over public universities. (ABC NEWS) Jack Murtha, a writer for Greater Media Newspaper website writes about Township of Marlboro, settles new contracts for incoming employees. The new terms of these contracts provide less paid time off and a reduction in benefits, according to municipal documents. Hornik, the Major of the Township said that Municipal officials and employees representatives cooperated in the township’s attempt to reduce the holiday and vacations paid, sick days and personal days that are offered to most staff members. For the new contracts was adjust the vacation day rules for incoming employees, this new rule only permit that new employees to carry just 50 percent of unused......

Words: 2753 - Pages: 12

Premium Essay

Consumer Economy’s Consequences and Alternatives

...CONSUMER ECONOMY’S CONSEQUENCES AND ALTERNATIVES The age of consumption is brought through innovations in fast industrialization of the world. Right now a country’s development is valued by how much it is industrialized and the rate of consumption in that economy. Naturally this situation effects how people live. Through last few decades, people have changed their values as a result of consumerism. The understanding of society turned into individualism where people only think about their interests rather than benefit of society. People value each other by what they have or can afford to buy, therefore disconnection in communities increases day by day and eventually causes unhappiness among humanity. Moreover, redundant amount of consumerism causes alarming decreases of natural resources and makes it impossible to live a sustainable green world. The waste of resources also threatens the existence of future generations since the world we know will be consumed totally by then. Although consumerism is an undeniable element in economy its implications are corruptive for both people’s happiness and sustainable development in order to change this destructive system, alternative ways of living should be practiced in life styles, and economic structures. Consumerism’s effects on life styles are very distinctive we can see how people adjust their way of living an imperialistic system, how they change their daily habits and family interactions however all these alterations......

Words: 1256 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Plea Bargains

...Plea bargains play a major role in the criminal justice system. The use of plea bargains has become quite controversial with valid points argued by those who support and those who oppose their use. Before making a decision to agree or disagree, one must compare the arguments regarding the use of plea bargains as well as understand the purpose of the plea bargain, types of plea bargains, and the positive and negative aspects of each type of plea bargain. Purpose of Plea Bargains A plea bargain is an arrangement made for a criminal case in which the prosecution proposes a deal to the defendant in exchange for a guilty plea. A plea bargain allows individuals who have been accused of criminal activity the ability to dodge a possible conviction during a trial for a more serious charge. The prosecution will typically offer the defendant a sentence for a lesser charge, or the original charge will remain with an additional recommendation for a lighter sentence (Meyer & Grant, 2003). These types of incentives allow the courts to save time and money by settling cases quickly and effectively. Plea bargains are initiated by either the defense or prosecuting attorney. Both parties are involved throughout the process of negotiations. This process can either be speedy or consist of several lengthy meetings that involve changing the conditions of the plea agreement until an agreement is reached. The prosecution and defense must be in complete agreement regarding the......

Words: 1365 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Labor Management

...Labor Management (not covered in class; come from this handout) – 3 QUESTIONS  Labor-Management Relations 1. Unions have not fared especially well in recent years. In 1970, approximately 30% of the workforce was unionized. Today, it is about ½ of that. Why?  One reason is the shift from a manufacturing to a service economy.  Some would contend that unions are not as necessary now as they once were because so many state and federal laws already protect employees. 2. Unions are gearing up to increase their membership  Targeting women and minorities, which is ironic because unions have traditionally been controlled by white, blue-collar men who had little interest in seeing women and minorities make gains in the workplace.  4 Major Federal Labor Law Statutes 1. Norris-LaGuardia (1932)  Outlaws yellow dog contracts (whereby employee agrees that he will not become involved in union activity and acknowledges that employer has the right to fire him if he does), and  Limits power of federal courts to issue injunctions in labor disputes (traditionally, employer could easily get injunction, thereby putting an end to planned labor activities—strikes, for example). 2. Wagner (1935) - Outlaws unfair labor practices by employers.  Grants employees the right to form, join, assist unions, and to bargain collectively (through union, instead of contracting individually with employer—strength in unity—employer doesn’t need any particular worker, but does need......

Words: 1725 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Economics - Price Ceilings, Economic Costs and Consumer Preferences

...Economics Group Assignment With Individual Component Questions A, B & C EC161/EC282 Walter Heering Seminar Group K Louis Quinton Toby Redman Charlie Spall Question 1……………………………………………………………………………….3 Question 2…………………………………………………………………………….12 Question 3…………………………………………………………………………….23 Toby Redman – Student Number: 13820112 Seminar group K EC161/EC282: Economics coursework: Group assignment with individual component – Question A Table of Contents Introduction 4 Price Ceiling 4 Main Body 5 How It Effects Landlords 6 How It Effects Consumers 7 How It Creates A Black Market For The Good 8 Conclusion 10 References 11 Introduction Price Ceiling A price ceiling is a government imposed price control to make sure that a goods can not be sold for more than a certain price, they cap the price at a certain point rather than letting be sold at the equilibrium. When a price ceiling is set there is more demand in the market than the product being supplied. The government has created excess demand by driving down the price of the product. Taylor (2006) claims that in order for a price ceiling to work it must be set below the equilibrium price of a market. If this does not happen then the ceiling would not have an effect on the price of a good because it would still continue to operate at the current price. As shown on the graph above when the price ceiling is put into place the price shifts from P* to P1 this then lowers the quantity available to......

Words: 7040 - Pages: 29

Premium Essay

Labor Law

...Labor Law Outline – Prof. West, Spring 2002 Historical Background, Etc Employment at Will A. History 1. Started from master/servant relations 2. Illustrates basic American way 3. Doctrine developed in response to industrial revolution B. CA Common Law 1. One can end the employment relationship at any time for any reason a) Either party can terminate at any time C. Exceptions 1. Limited statutory exceptions to employment at will 2. Unions a) If in one, may only be fired for just cause under labor K Wrongful Discharge Cause of Actions A. Common Law 1. Can’t order reinstatement if employees are fired and they sue for breach of K 2. Reinstatement is a traditional remedy only under statute B. California Causes of Action 1. Generally a) Tort claims—get damages including emotional distress, punitive damages. 1) Can’t get those through breach of K 2) Easier to find a lawyer to take case under tort claims b) Whistle blowing 1) Under statute, must complain to a govm’t official, not just internally c) Affects private employees 1) Public employees can’t be deprived of their jobs without due process and just cause 2. Discharge in violation of public policy a) Employee can have tort action if fired in......

Words: 7099 - Pages: 29

Premium Essay

Labor Unions

...Labor Unions Labor unions are seen from conflicting points of view. Members stand firm behind them citing their positive contributions to the higher pay, improved working conditions, better benefits, and overall greater standards achieved through collective bargaining. Solidarity, a motto of unions, keeps members bonded to each other and the union through shared problems and experiences. Some corporations and economists believe that labor unions are cartels that create monopolies and regard them as a detriment to the capitalist vision. Antiunion opinions stem from the seemingly untouchable status of labor unions and the favor and protections given to them by the federal government. Labor unions are nearly as old as America herself. Although primitive unions of carpenters and other tradespeople made an appearance in various cities in colonial America, the first national labor unions didn’t gain strength until the 1820s. During this time, workers banded together to reduce the working day from a grueling 12 hours to a more manageable 10 hours. In 1866, the Nation Labor Union persuaded Congress to cut the workday down to today’s eight hour standard. As early as 1909 eastern European immigrant steel workers attempted demonstrations of solidarity for humane working conditions. However, due to language barriers they were exploited and easily divided (Brody 153). These early efforts, along with those of washwomen, factory, mill, and postal workers paved the road for labor......

Words: 1386 - Pages: 6