By Melissa Campbell, President, USW Local 2737 in Dover, Ohio
It was a great privilege to be a part of hosting an event on the 2008 Wal-Mart Sweatshop Workers Speaking Tour here in Tuscarawas County. Thanks to SFC and ILRF for taking such an important issue on the road here in Ohio.
In the crowd of more than 70, there were students, teachers, immigrant community activists, union members, and local concerned citizens in attendance.
Phal Savin (second from left) and Didier Leitón (second from right), sweatshop workers from Cambodia and Costa Rica, spoke on April 9, 2008 at the Family Life Center of St. Joseph Catholic Church. They explained the hardships of low pay, retaliation, and lack of oversight for sweatshop workers around the world. Sponsored by SweatFree Communities, International Labor Rights Forum, USW District 1 and USW Local 2737, Ohio Conference on Fair Trade and the Tuscarawas Co. AFL-CIO. Read the local newspaper story here.
As a union member, I would like to thank Savin and Didier for having the strength to come here and share their experiences. Giving people a face to put with the stories that we hear about is very important as we try to educate local communities of the inhumane conditions workers face everyday in other countries so that products are available here in the US. Cheap goods come at a high cost somewhere down the line even if we don’t see it. Big corporations are reaping huge profits at the expense of workers and consumers.
We stand with Savin and Didier, and others like them, to continue their struggle to organize and fight for fair, safe, equitable, and humane working conditions all around the globe.
I am excited and encouraged by the conversations that took place in question portion of the presentation. Opening up that dialog in small communities is what brings about education and change.
Thanks again to the workers and all who participated.
I wish you all safe travel and a successful tour.