A Reminder of the Disturbing Consequences of Outsourcing

Jesús Espinoza

Jesús Espinoza Press Secretary, AAM

Sweatshops aren’t anything new. To save a few bucks, many American textile manufacturers have chosen to move jobs abroad to places with “cheap” labor. In fact, nearly the entire textile industry offshored. Some wanted to be able to get away with paying workers very little and not having to comply with regulations that protect workers.

But some sweatshop workers aren’t even paid. This week, the Associated Press (AP) reportedthat the Chinese government is forcing members of religious and ethnic minority groups into secluded indoctrination camps and then forcing them into factory work. This clearly falls under the U.S. and United Nations definition of slavery. That’s not all: It turns out that North Carolina-based Badger Sportswear, which supplies athletic gear to college campuses across the U.S., was actually sourcing its products from one of these camps.

The company announced it was suspending this arrangment while it conducts an investigation. But this case makes us ask an uncomfortable, but important, question: How many of the imported goods Americans use every day are made by modern-day slaves?

This is a grim reminder of why outsourcing has consequences, both in the U.S. and the places where domestic manufacturers send these jobs. American workers lose their livelihoods and then live through the painful experience of seeing their communities destroyed. Workers abroad are exploited—even enslaved.

Out of solidarity with workers everywhere, we can’t support companies that don’t care about the dignity of work and what it means to fairly pay someone for their time and contributions. Buying American-made products isn’t just about supporting American workers. It’s about being an ethical consumer who supports workers and rejects exploitation.

Although cases like this are happening all over the world, it’s an important reminder of the human costs of outsourcing. 

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work