Mass. -- The Wellesley College Association of Labor
Rights Activists (WALRA), a student group, will hold
its second annual "Sweatshop Simulation" workshop
Wednesday, Feb. 25, from 7 am-7 pm in Billings Hall,
room 100, on the Wellesley, Mass., campus. The event
is free and open to the public.
"The sweatshop simulation involves a group of about
25 students who have volunteered to work for 12 straight
hours in sweatshop conditions that we'll recreate, including
intense noise, strict socialization rules, low wages, intense
heat and hourly quotas," explained Liz Mandeville,
a Wellesley senior and president of WALRA. "We'll
be producing bags that are stamped to say 'this bag was
made in a sweatshop.' Workers cannot socialize, but they
can answer questions about how they are feeling, whether
they can imagine doing this kind of work everyday, etc."
Last year, WALRA's goals were to raise awareness of sweatshop
conditions and to encourage the college to join the Workers'
Rights Consortium (WRC), including a commitment not to
sell sweatshop-made clothes and to offer only fair trade
coffee in the dining halls. These goals were achieved.
"This year, our goal is to encourage student groups
to switch over to only selling fair trade shirts for their
fundraisers," Mandeville said. One chief supplier
of these shirts has already agreed to make fair trade shirts
"Another goal we'd like to achieve this year is to
get the word out to a larger audience, first, to the general
public about the realities of sweatshop labor, and, second,
to the activist community to say that this is a strategy
that works, and we'd like to help them organize their own
simulations," Mandeville said.
more information about the "Sweatshop Simulation" workshop,