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Braxton Simon

COMM 1080 - Hom

20 April 2018

Case Study Analysis - Sweatshops


America, known as the land of the free and home of the brave. Where opportunities are

supposed bottomless and dreams are achieved. Though not known, are the stakes to getting to

such a place. Thousands of immigrants flock to America from a variety of different countries,

and when they finally reach the place for that new life. They work to the bone for it. Such as the

case with Sweatshops.

A Sweatshop is defined as “a shop employing workers at low wages, for long hours, and

under poor conditions,” (“sweatshop”.) These shops can take the form of single restaurant

chains, family-owned businesses, to large companies. The size of the business doesn’t matter

when the size of injustice remains.

According to the Encyclopedia of Management, sweatshops have dated way back. As far

as the Spanish Conquistadors. There in Ecuador, the Spanish took advantage over the natives by

putting them to work for their new rulers. As long as there are people whom to abuse, and

products that are in demand, sweatshops remain.

There are three things that distinguish a sweatshop, as defined above.

1. Low Wages

2. Long Hours

3. Poor Conditions

These factors are important to the business side of the sweat shop. Let’s focus on number

1. Low Wages. This is a business man’s dream, being able to make the max amount of dollars

per product sold. According to McQuerry, the number one cost to a business is Payroll. By

limiting the biggest cost, the amount of saved money that could be spent in other ‘resources’ is


Next, is Number 2. Long Hours. Along with wanting to decrease how much the

employee’s make. An employer will also want to get the maximum amount of work from the

employee. Because the Employee no longer will make enough money, they will be required to

work longer periods of time to make up the difference. This is more of a side effect to number 1.

Finally, Number 3. Poor Conditions. This is left to speculation, as it is a wonder why any

human being is morally okay with the suffering of another. However, in 1993, ​The Workplace

Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations finally became law (UNISON National.) This ensured,

“minimum standards for workplaces and work in or near buildings.” A hope that sweat shops

were at thing of the past.

However, this is not the case. Sweatshops remain a modern day crisis as businesses

continue to unfairly treat employees. I was lucky to sit down and interview a man named Juan,

who asked if his true identity could remain a secret for fear of consequences. Juan talked about

his current job at a local factory in Salt Lake City, Utah where he has been employed 12 years.
He spoke how he came to america 15 years ago, and was still defined as an ‘Illegal Immigrant’.

Juan said his dream was to raise a family away from the dangers that existed in Texcoco, a town

close to Mexico City. He had hoped to bring the rest of his family with him when he had the

funds necessary, but he is still saving. Juan believe he is working in a modern day sweatshop.

His current wage around $12/hr, even after 12 years. When he began, the company allowed for

as much overtime as one wanted. Juan remembers working 80+ hours a week during those days

and being alone in America he recalls was, “just enough to get by.” Since then the company has

a strict 60 hours a maximum per week. “I went to the bosses and asked for more money, but they

wouldn’t do it,” Juan said, “Now I have 2 jobs,” (Simon.)

Juan’s case is just a drop in the sea of injustice that still exists today. In conclusion,

everywhere a business can make a quick buck, and there are people who can be taken advantage

of, sweatshops will be.


What are the sources of the conflict?

The sources of the conflict reside in someone having more power over another person, or even

the system of which the person is under. People need money to survive and businesses determine

how much they can give.

What are the goals of each party?

The goal of the business is to produce the most product at the cheapest cost. The goal of the

employee is to earn money to support their needs/wants.

Identify value differences.

The differences have increasing values. The employee is working to live. Whereas the business

is producing to grow. Some people value the growth of a company over the lives of the

employees therein.

Identify power differences.

The power difference is simple. People need money to survive. An company/business determines

how much they will give for that employee. The company/business has more power than the

employee. Everyone wants to make money so therefore employees become expendable and


What role is played by historical, social, and political contexts?

History plays an important role. The entire issue with slavery created a stigma that it is okay to

exploit others for money. Slaves have been acquired throughout history in order for mass

production of goods. It’s created a hardness of the heart that allows people to treat each other


What conflict management strategies have each party applied?

I don’t think any conflict management strategies have been applied. I think people today are still

being abused by the system and are not treated fairly by employers. The employee can either be

replaced or develop a skill or ability to become irreplaceable.

Based on knowledge you’ve learned in this class, what recommendations would you make

to help the group and its members become more a part of the mainstream community?

I would recommend that those that are oppressed in a sweatshop learn the laws that have been

inplace to protect them. I would recommend they get to know the people in the appropriate

channels to help them as well. Such as Human resources. I would recommend them to not

become complacent and try to deal with their conflicts.


McQuerrey, Lisa. “Top 5 Business Expenses.” Your Business, 29 Sept. 2016,

Simon, Braxton J. “Overworked-Juan.” 2018.

"sweatshop". Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 20 Apr. 2018. <​>.

"Sweatshops.". “Sweatshops.” Encyclopedia of Management,, 2018,


“Working Conditions | Health and Safety.” UNISON National,​.