A few years ago students at the University where I teach asked if I would speak on a panel they were organizing on sweatshops and globalization. I agreed and, in the course of the event, I suggested two things to them. The first was that if they are interested in whether the University spends money on garments made abroad under exploitative conditions they ought to worry less about the tee shorts for sale in the bookstore and more on the various uniforms bought by the Athletic Department. My bet is that (despite the fact that our AD is a good fellow who is extremely progressive on all sorts of matters) the companies who make uniforms for Rochester's teams rely on low wage workers in developing countries. I suspect that that is where the real money, year after year, goes. The second point was that if students were concerned about 'off-shoring' of jobs, they ought to look at the University's practices with regard to maintenance and cleaning and food-services on campus. The point being that their own College engaged in just the troubling labor practices about which they were concerned. The students found this suggestion a bit too close to home. Exploitation operates far away, no?
All of that is by way of saying that I learned today (via a reader who directed me to this post
) that Greg Halpern
, the young, talented photographer who did this book on the living wage campaign at Harvard now lives and works in Rochester.* I recommend a visit to Greg's web page where you can find not just excerpts
from the book, but a bunch of his equally good more recent work.
* Thanks Mike!
Labels: Labor, Rochester