Working for $1.75 a Day

Posted: August 19, 2009 in Uncategorized
Almost daily for the past couple of weeks there have been protests around the areas where there are factories that employ thousands of Haitian workers.  The majority of these workers work in the garment industry, where they sew for some of the major international and U.S. labels.  Some years back, Beth’s sister sent her a popular label dress that she bought in Boston and Beth looking at the label saw that the dress was actually made in Haiti. Now the minimum wage for these workers is $1.75 per day.  There is a movement to raise it to $5.00 a day but it seems that the government has agreed to $3.75 a day.  I guess I should qualify that to say that the President is not in agreement and he has not signed the bill into law.  

 Now I’m just thinking out loud here, but here is an example of life in Haiti.  We do not have electricity 7/24 and so many people and companies depend on generators to have electricity in their homes or businesses.  So thousands of generators are sold every year.  Some of these are mega big and costs tens of thousands of dollars.  It is for sure not in the interest of the companies that produce the generators and of the businesses here that sell the generators for Haiti to have steady, clean electricity 7/24.  That would mean a loss of millions of dollars a year and that is not good business for them, although millions of others would benefit.

The business community here is quite powerful and the garment businesses  say that if they are forced to across the board raise what they pay, then they will have to lay off workers and perhaps even close up and move to a more stable country.  So there is a stalemate with the companies holding firm and the people demonstrating.  Imagine trying to survive on $1.75 to $3.75 a day.

Perhaps the next time you are looking to buy some clothes, you can check the labels to see where they are made and then do some research as to what the workers that manufactured the clothing are paid and what the working conditions are like.

************

The storm season has started and Haiti as usual is ill prepared for any damage caused by this year’s storms.  Please pray with us that no major storm hits Haiti.

John

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