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U.S. Fought To Lower Minimum Wage In Haiti So Hanes And Levis Would Stay Cheap
By Robert Johnson at Business Insider.

A Wikileaks post published on “The Nation” shows that the Obama Administration fought to keep Haitian wages at 31 cents an hour. This article was taken down by The Nation due to an embargo, but it was excerpted at Columbia Journalism Review.

It started when Haiti passed a law two years ago raising its minimum wage to 61 cents an hour. According to an embassy cable: “This infuriated American corporations like Hanes and Levi Strauss that pay Haitians slave wages to sew their clothes. They said they would only fork over a seven-cent-an-hour increase, and they got the State Department involved. The U.S. ambassador put pressure on Haiti’s president, who duly carved out a $3 a day minimum wage for textile companies (the U.S. minimum wage, which itself is very low, works out to $58 a day).

Haiti has about 25,000 garment workers. If you paid each of them $2 a day more, it would cost their employers $50,000 per working day, or about $12.5 million a year … As of last year Hanes had 3,200 Haitians making t-shirts for it. Paying each of them two bucks a day more would cost it about $1.6 million a year. Hanesbrands Incorporated made $211 million on $4.3 billion in sales last year.”

Thanks to U.S. intervention, the minimum was raised only to 31 cents.

There are One Comment

  1. Jared Williams
    June 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Just this weekend I noticed my “champion” brand soccer shirt was made in Haiti, one part of me was like at least they are getting some work but having been there and seeing what the wages are I knew better. The average daily wage for people working is closer to $5 a day so the textile workers are far below that. Now you might say well things cost less in most of these 3rd world countries so what is the big deal? Well Haiti is actually rated a 5th world country and while they make so little most everything is imported and they pay US rates for nearly everything, a coke is $1 us. Our subsidized crops here undercut even the farmers…

    Anyways your biggest vote isn’t for the president or senators its with your dollar, don’t like how a company makes what you are buying? Then don’t buy it, anyone looking for large orders of shirts made by workers getting paid a fair living wage check out NoSweat, we have no affiliation with them but have thought if we do make shirts to sell or give away with donations they will be me first call. Sadly do to not enough people knowing or caring they had to close the regular catalog but still do wholesale for large orders.

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