An American Made Double Standard on Labor Rights

The overwhelming majority of Americans buy products made in sweatshops or countries with poor or next to no worker’s rights or health and safety. This is not a conscious choice in most cases, and in many, there is no choice at all. Electrical products are made or put together in China, food comes from Mexico, clothes from India or Southeast Asia. Even when products come from American companies, they’re not necessarily made in America. So, should American companies be allowed to ignore American laws and rights when manufacturing in another country?

Different Rules

Every nation has the right to set its own rules when it comes to labor, health and safety, and environmental standards. The world has not come close to enforcing universal standards on all nations to ensure workers are respected, well renumerated or protected from toxic substances. Many developing countries such as China and Japan have looked the other way or purposefully enacted weak labor protection laws in order to drive down the cost of their products and bring manufacturing work to their country.

American Products vs. Made in America

You might feel that you can find safety in American products – those made by American companies with our flag. However, many products are made cheaply overseas by companies, are bought and rebranded by American companies before being sold here at a normal price. Many other American products are just simply made overseas to save money on labor costs. The costs to the environment and for transportation being smaller in the mind of the company than labor in the US. Made in America products are genuinely made in this country and under the laws/regulations and ethical/moral standards of this country.

The Only Ethical Solution

The only solution, baring congress forcing companies to adhere to US law overseas as a minimum standard (in Europe for example, labor laws are often stronger than here), is to buy made in America products. This not only means that the workers manufacturing your products are well looked after and paid, but also that the quality of the product you are using is known and approved. As Liberty Tabletop say, “we often worry about the quality of the food we are putting into our mouths, but how often do we stop to think about the tool we are using.” The same thought could go to the electronics we use, the clothing we wear, the furniture we sit on and the automobiles we drive. Companies like Intel, Crayola, Pyrex, KitchenAid, Liberty and Wilson Footballs are all made in America brands.

 

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