Youth in the 21st century are more connected to people around the world than in previous generations. Consequently, the role that youth play as consumers has dramatically changed over the years. In an effort to bring together the issues of where our products comes from and the labor rights issues associated to global supply chains, the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) has developed an opportunity for students to realize their role in ongoing globalization and the connections they have to workers around the world.
One way to concretely connect students and schools to labor rights issues is to learn more about school uniform supply chains. Unknown by many local students and consumers, school uniforms are often produced in sweatshops where workers are subjected to terrible working conditions. In addition to harmful work environments and limited rights, workers’ wages may only account for 3-5% of the final retail cost of a garment. Yet, as the sale of school uniforms remains a multi-million dollar industry, workers’ rights continue to be ignored.
By combining the efforts of ILRF with local schools, students will gain lessons in advocacy and ensure that their uniforms are created under acceptable conditions. ILRF is interested in working with schools in Ward One to incorporate this into social studies and other relevant classes or after school clubs.