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Maquiladora Women Condemn Sweatshop Labor in U.S. Tour

The National Labor Committee has brough teenagers Claudia Molina and Judith Viera to the U.S. to raise awareness about the horrendous working conditions that workers in Central American and Caribbean free trade zones (maquiladora workers) face.

These factories nearly enslave their workers, many of whom are paid less than fifty centes per hour, a wage that is not even sufficient to buy nutritious food. The workers at the plants, who are predominantly teenage girls and women, often work 15 hours or more a day, 6 days a week, are exposed to hazardous working conditions, robbed of their right to education, and discouraged from seeking medical attention.

Companies such as the Gap, Eddie Bauer, Banana Republic, Gitano (part of Fruit of the Loom), and others have exploited maquiladora workers for profit.

Charles Kernaghan is fighting the exploitation of maquiladora workers as executive director of the National Labor Committee in New York. He said that factories "find those workers who will accept the lowest wages, the fewest benefits and the most miserable working conditions."

Media Resources: New York Times - September 9, 1998



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