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Charles Kernaghan is the country's leading anti-sweatshop voice.  He appears regularly in major U.S. and international media outlets and is much sought after as a public speaker, who has addressed hundreds of audiences at universities, as well as union and religious conferences, and international policy forums.

Kernaghan has travelled all over the world researching worker rights abuses and meeting with the young workers who make our clothing and other products-workers the same age as U.S. college students (and some much younger) producing for some of the world's wealthiest corporations.  Kernaghan's presentations are information-packed, but vivid and personal, bringing the global economy alive with stories and images from the lives of the workers themselves, images of child labor-human trafficking-brutal sweatshop conditions-starvation wages-miserable working and living conditions.  It also becomes clear that the impact of sweatshop abuses is not just far away:  college students today may be the first generation to have a lower standard of living than their parents as jobs are outsourced, wages fall and college graduates find themselves in jobs for which they are overqualified and underpaid.

But the overall message is an optimistic "It doesn't have to be this way!"  Kernaghan concretely describes how U.S. students and our society as a whole can-and must-fight back to end these abuses and re-shape our global economy to protect human communities, and especially the workers who make the products we buy. This is a story we all need to know.

 

Charles Kernaghan, in their words. . .

Washington Post, Sunday, July 31, 2005 "The Man Who Made Kathie Lee Cry"

"For more than a decade, Kernaghan's National Labor Committee—four staffers including himself—has launched a steady stream of highly publicized campaigns, taking on the labor practices at factories producing clothes for Liz Claiborne, Fruit of the Loom, the Gap, Disney, JCPenney, Kmart, Kohl's, Nike, Target, Levi Strauss and Sean Jean.

And who could forget Kathie Lee?  Kernaghan will perhaps forever be known as the activist who made Kathie Lee Gifford cry when he revealed during congressional testimony in 1996 that child laborers in Honduras were making the Gifford clothing line sold at Wal-Mart."

Senator Byron Dorgan, Hearings on sweatshop abuses in the global economy,
February 14, 2007

"Mr. Kernaghan, your organization has done a lot of work over a long period of time, and I know that, without your work, much of the disclosure that has existed would still be undisclosed, and we would still have abuses in those areas where you have described them and where you have been successful in trying to shut them down."       

The New York Times

"Charles Kernaghan is the labor movement's mouse that roared"Women's Wear Daily, the fashion industry's bible, recently wrote, 'Charles Kernaghan and his anti-sweatshop battle have been shaking up the issue of labor abuses in the apparel industry like nothing since the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire.'"

Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Speech at the Child Labor Education and Action Conference of 2000:

"Charles Kernaghan is a legitimate American hero" Through his determination he has forced the leadership in our country and many other countries around the world to pay attention.  Kernaghan has done more to expose child labor than has the whole Department of Labor that has a budget of hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars, because he has the guts and determination to do it."

Senator Bernie Sanders, Greeting to CLEA High School Students' Conference, Brattleboro, Vermont, March 9, 2007

"I am very sorry that I can't be with you today.  But I am delighted that my good friend Charlie Kernaghan, who is leading this country in exposing child and sweatshop labor throughout the world—I'm very happy that Charlie is there with you.  You can learn a lot from him, so listen up.  Charlie is an American hero. "

Charles Derber, Professor, Boston College, People Before Profit

"The Upton Sinclair of today's global economy is Charles Kernaghan, the New York based muckraker most famous for his expose of sweatshops producing the Kathie Lee Gifford line of clothing for Wal-Mart". The National Labor Committee" has been a leader in exposing sweatshops, mounting corporate campaigns, and fighting for the rights of vulnerable workers."

Naomi Klein, No Logo

"The NLC" has used Greenpeace — style media antics to draw more public attention to the plight of sweatshop workers than the multimillion — dollar international trade union movement has achieved in almost a century."

Ralph Nader, A Growing Movement: International Labor Rights

"The National Labor Committee" have pressured retailers on campus and off to publicly disclose the factory names and addresses."

Reverend David Dyson, Chair, People of Faith Network

"In the Book of Proverbs it says 'Without a vision, people perish.' But without a vehicle the vision has not wheels. The National Labor Committee has been that vehicle for 20 years, speaking truth to power and common decency to the American people."

Chicago Tribune

"If you've ever checked the tag on a polo shirt, wondering where it was made, and whether workers there are treated fairly, Charles Kernaghan has touched your life.  He heads the National Labor Committee, a New York-based group that campaigns against sweatshops and for workers' rights worldwide.  It has taken on some of the biggest names in the nation's apparel and clothing industries.  College campuses not too long ago shook with student protests based on the group's overseas work.  It's a tiny operation, but Kernaghan, a graduate of Chicago's Loyola University, seems to have the drive of 100 workaholic CEOs.  Labor unions and the clergy closely support the group's work."

Honduran maquila worker Lydda Gonzalez

(Worker fired for attempting to organize a union in the SETISA factory, where she worked producing "Sean John"clothing) "We could never have dreamed that we would find such warmth, interest and solidarity in the United States.  We want to thank the National Labor Committee.  If there were ten Charles Kernaghans, the world would be different.

The New York Times

"Even companies that Mr. Kernaghan has not focused on have begun cleaning up their factories, if only to avoid his wrath."

John Sweeney, President, AFL-CIO

"Because of the NLC's crusades" we're beginning to learn the awful truth about workers around the world who are slaving away their lives in sweatshops, who are denied the right to join or form a union in order to fight back and provide a better life for their families."

Noam Chomsky, The Nation

"In some ways, [the student anti-sweatshop movement] is like the anti-apartheid movement, except that in this case its striking at the core of the relations of exploitation.  Much of this was initiated by Charlie Kernaghan of the National Labor Committee in New York..."

Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton, Archdiocese of Detroit

"In the struggle for the rights of the poor in Central America and other places where globalization is bringing its negative effects, there is no organization more effective than the National Labor Committee."

 

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