Monitoring Sweatshops offers the first comprehensive assessment of efforts to address and improve conditions in garment factories. Jill Esbenshade describes the government's efforts to persuade retailers and clothing companies to participate in private monitoring programs. She shows the different approaches to monitoring that firms have taken, and the variety of private monitors employed, from large accounting companies to local non-profits. Esbenshade also shows how the efforts of the anti-sweatshop movement have forced companies to employ monitors overseas as well. When monitoring is understood as the result of the withdrawal of governments from enforcing labor standards as well as the weakening of labor unions, it becomes clear that the United States is experiencing a shift from a social contract between workers, businesses, and government to one that Jill Esbenshade calls the social responsibility contract. She illustrates this by presenting the recent history of monitoring, with considerable attention to the most thorough of the Department of Labor's programs, the one in Los Angeles. Esbenshade also explains the maze of alternative approaches being employed worldwide to decide the questions of what should be monitored and by whom.
Jill Esbenshade is Assistant Professor of Sociology at San Diego State University.
PrefaceAcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Monitoring, Sweatshops, and Labor Relations1. The Rise and Fall of the Social Contract in the Apparel Industry2. The Social-Accountability Contract3. Private Monitoring in Practice4. Weaknesses and Conflicts in Private Monitoring5. The Development of International Monitoring6. Examining International Codes of Conduct and Monitoring Efforts7. The Struggle for Independent MonitoringConclusion: Workers, Consumers, and Independent MonitoringAppendix 1: Confessions of a Sweatshop Monitor by Joshua Samuel BrownAppendix 2: Research MethodsAppendix 3: List of InterviewsAppendix 4: Acronyms and AbbreviationsNotesReferencesIndex