# An Algebra Activity on Linear Programming and Budgets where the Math class meets Social Justice

By: Mrs. Livermore Holy Family Catholic High School

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Which country will bring the clothing manufacturer the most profit?

Can the workers live on their proposed wages?

Students formed groups and chose one of the following countries: Honduras, Guatemala, China, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Nicaragua, and United States. Their mission was to create a report for the CEO of a clothing manufacturer to determine the maximum profit their particular country could obtain by using the information provided.

The company already owns the equipment needed for the factory. They know that the new factory needs 100 workers to run the equipment to create their products. They plan on selling their sweatshirts for \$50 each and long-sleeved t-shirts for \$40 each. The material needed for each sweatshirt costs \$4 each and the t-shirts are \$3.50 each. The company has budgeted \$15,000 for labor costs. Each sweatshirt takes approximately 14.4 minutes and each long-sleeved t-shirt takes approximately 9.18 minutes to create.
Source: http://www.nlcnet.org/article.php?id=103).

 Honduras  Guatemala

 China
 Ethiopia

 Nicaragua  United

States  Summary of all countries

.24 x .153 y

26400

The workers in Honduras make 75 cents per hour and work 6 days a week in 11 hour shifts
Source: www.nlcnet.org

Constraints: Time Worker Pay

0.24 x 0.153 y 26400 0.75(0.24 x 0.153 y ) 15000 y 0

x Number of Sweatshirts 0
Number of T-shirts

Long-sleeved t-shirts in 10,000s

Maximum Profit \$4,771,244
Making 83,333 long-sleeved tshirts and 0 sweatshirts

Sweatshirts in 10,000s

Graph Key: Time – Blue Worker Pay - Red

.24 x .153 y

26400

The workers in Guatemala earn \$1.12 per hour and work 12 hour shifts 5 days a week.
Source: www.nlcnet.org

Constraints: Time Worker Pay Number of Sweatshirts Number of T-shirts

0.24 x 0.153 y 24000 1.12(0.24 x 0.153 y ) 15000 x 0 y 0

Long-sleeved t-shirts in 10,000s

Maximum Profit \$3,195,027
Making 87,535 long-sleeved tshirts and 0 sweatshirts

Sweatshirts in 10,000s

Graph Key: Time – Blue Worker Pay - Red

.24 x .153 y

26400

The workers in China earn \$0.32 per hour. They have 80 hour work weeks.
Source: www.nlcnet.org

Constraints: Time Worker Pay Number of Sweatshirts Number of T-shirts

0.24 x 0.153 y 32000 0.32(0.24 x 0.153 y) 15000 x 0 y 0

Long-sleeved t-shirts in 10,000s

Maximum Profit \$7,633,975
Making 209,150 long-sleeved tshirts and 0 sweatshirts

Sweatshirts in 10,000s

Graph Key: Time – Blue Worker Pay - Red

.24 x .153 y

26400

The workers in Ethiopia earn 25 cents per hour. They work 80 hour work weeks.
Source: www.zmag.org

Constraints: Time Worker Pay Number of Sweatshirts Number of T-shirts

0.24 x 0.153 y 30000 0.25(0.24 x 0.153 y ) 15000 x 0 y 0

Long-sleeved t-shirts in 10,000s

Maximum Profit \$7,156,847
Making 196,078 long-sleeved tshirts and 0 sweatshirts

Sweatshirts in 10,000s

Graph Key: Time – Blue Worker Pay - Red

.24 x .153 y

26400

The workers in Madagascar earn \$0.33 per hour. They have 90 hour work weeks.
Source: www.zmag.org

Constraints: Time Worker Pay Number of Sweatshirts Number of T-shirts

0.24 x 0.153 y 36000 0.33(0.24 x 0.153 y ) 15000 x 0 y 0

Long-sleeved t-shirts in 10,000s

Maximum Profit \$8,588,231
Making 235,294 long-sleeved tshirts and 0 sweatshirts

Sweatshirts in 10,000s

Graph Key: Time – Blue Worker Pay - Red

.24 x .153 y

26400

The workers in Nicaragua earn 41 cents per hour and work 8 hour days. They work 6 days a week.
Source: www.nlcnet.org

Constraints: Time Worker Pay Number of Sweatshirts Number of T-shirts

0.24 x 0.153 y 19200 0.41(0.24 x 0.153 y ) 15000 x 0 y 0

Long-sleeved t-shirts in 10,000s

Maximum Profit \$4,580,385
Making 125,490 long-sleeved tshirts and 0 sweatshirts

Sweatshirts in 10,000s

Graph Key: Time – Blue Worker Pay - Red

.24 x .153 y

26400

The workers in the United States earn \$6.00 per hour and work a forty hour work week.
Constraints: Time Worker Pay Number of Sweatshirts Number of T-shirts

0.24 x 0.153 y 16000 6(0.24 x 0.153 y ) 15000 x 0 y 0

Long-sleeved t-shirts in 10,000s

Maximum Profit \$596,410
Making 16,340 long-sleeved tshirts and 0 sweatshirts

Sweatshirts in 10,000s

Graph Key: Time – Blue Worker Pay - Red

      

Honduras \$4,771,244 for 130,719 long-sleeved t-shirts Guatemala \$3,195,027 for 87,535 long-sleeved t-shirts China \$7,633,975 for 209,150 long-sleeved t-shirts Ethiopia \$7,156,847 for 196,078 long-sleeved t-shirts Madagascar \$8,588,231 for 235,294 long-sleeved t-shirts Nicaragua \$4,580,385 for 125,490 long-sleeved t-shirts United States \$596,410 for 16,340 long-sleeved t-shirts

Madagascar has the potential for the most profit. The company should concentrate its efforts on making only long-sleeved t-shirts.

The company has been contacted by a service organization concerned about your potential employees’ well-being. They heard what you were going paying your employees and they maintain that the employees cannot sustain themselves with that amount of pay working the hours you are recommending. The CEO contacts you to investigate this allegation because of your experience. You decide that the best way to determine the validity of this allegation is to figure out how much an employee would make per month and compare that with a sample budget that considers all living expenses. If an employee cannot pay the living expenses on his or her wage, find the number of hours he or she would need to work to do so and the hourly wage he or she would need to make if his or her hours remained the same.

 Honduras  Guatemala

 China
 Ethiopia  Madagascar  Nicaragua  United

States  Summary of all countries

Source: http://icsc.un.org/col-csr.asp

If a worker were to live in a 3 bedroom apartment, he or she would need to earn \$1,551.53 a month. The workers make 75 cents per hour and work 6 days a week in 11 hour shifts (source: www.nlcnet.org). This translates to \$198 a month. A worker would need to make \$5.88 per hour working 11 hour shifts 6 days a week. The worker would need to work 2069 hours a month or 517 hours a week if he or she continued to make \$0.75 per hour, which is impossible.

Source: http://icsc.un.org/col-csr.asp

If a worker lived in a 3 bedroom apartment, he or she would need to earn \$1,472.69 a month. A worker in Guatemala earns \$1.12 per hour and works 12 hour shifts 5 days a week (source: www.nlcnet.org). This translates to \$268.80 per month. A worker would need to make \$6.14 per hour working 12 hour shifts 5 days a week. The worker would need to work 1315 hours a month or 329 hours a week if he or she continued to make \$1.12 per hour, which is impossible.

Source: http://www.footprintsrecruiting.com Rent: NT\$10,000 = \$301.61 US Utilities: NT\$1,750 = \$52.78 US Food: NT\$7,500 = \$226.21 Transportation: NT\$700 = \$21.11 US Entertainment: NT\$2,500 = \$75.40 US

A worker would need to earn \$677.11 a month. A worker in China earns \$0.32 per hour and works 80 hour work weeks (source: www.nlcnet.org). This translates to \$102.40 per month. A worker would need to make \$2.12 per hour working 80 hour work weeks. The worker would need to work 2116 hours a month or 529 hours a week if he or she continued to make \$0.32 per hour, which is impossible.

Source: http://www.justlanded.com Housing 6000 Rand = \$835 US Food 4000 Rand = \$557 US Utilities 700 Rand = \$98 US Leisure 2000 Rand = \$278 US Transportation 1100 Rand = \$153 US

A worker would need to earn \$1921 a month. A worker in Ethiopia earns \$0.25 per hour and works 75 hour work weeks (source: www.zmag.org). This translates to \$75 per month. A worker would need to make \$6.40 per hour working 75 hour work weeks. The worker would need to work 7684 hours a month or 1921 hours a week if he or she continued to make \$0.25 per hour, which is impossible.

Source: http://icsc.un.org/col-csr.asp

If a worker lived in a 2 bedroom apartment, he or she would need to earn \$676.02 a month. A worker in Madagascar earns \$0.33 per hour and works 90 hour work weeks (source: www.zmag.org). This translates to \$118.80 per month. A worker would need to make \$1.88 per hour working 90 hour work weeks. The worker would need to work 2049 hours a month or 512 hours a week if he or she continued to make \$0.33 per hour, which is impossible.

Source: http://icsc.un.org/col-csr.asp

If a worker lived in a 2 bedroom apartment, he or she would need to earn \$1749.78 a month. A worker in Nicaragua earns \$0.41 per hour and works 8 hour days 6 days a week (source: www.nlcnet.org). This translates to \$78.72 per month. A worker would need to make \$9.11 per hour working 8 hour days 6 days a week. The worker would need to work 4268 hours a month or 1067 hours a week if he or she continued to make \$0.41 per hour, which is impossible.

Housing = \$1000 Food = \$400 Utilities = \$300 Leisure = \$300 Transportation = \$500

A worker would need to earn \$2500 a month. A worker in United States earns \$6.00 per hour and works 40 hour work weeks. This translates to \$960 per month. A worker would need to make \$15.63 per hour working 40 hour work weeks. The worker would need to work 417 hours a month or 104 hours a week if he or she continued to make \$6.00 per hour.

None of the workers in the proposed countries can afford the cost of living working the proposed number of hours and hourly wage.
Country Hourly Wage Hours work per month Monthly Wage Needs Hourly wage with current hours Monthly hours with current wage

Honduras Guatemala

0.75 1.12

264 240

198 268.80

1551.53 1472.69

5.88 6.14

2069 1315

China

0.32
0.25 0.33

320
300 360

102.40
75 118.80

677.11
1921 676.02

2.12
6.40 1.88

2116
7684 2049

Nicaragua
United States

0.41
6.00

192
160

78.72
960

1749.78
2500

9.11
15.63

4268
417

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