Dallas Cowboys and Ohio State Caught in Sweatshop Scandal

Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights |  By  | October, 13 2011 |  Share  | Source Article


October 13, 2011

CONTACT:  Barbara Briggs  tel: 412-562-2406
DATELINE: New York, Pittsburgh, San Salvador


Dallas Cowboys and Ohio State

Caught in Sweatshop Scandal


The Dallas Cowboys and Ohio State University and Wal-Mart are implicated in a sweatshop scandal, producing their licensed goods at an illegal sweatshop in El Salvador, where women are just paid pennies per garment and stripped of their rights.  Today, the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights is releasing an explosive 37-page report-including production and cost documents smuggled out of the Style Avenue factory in El Salvador-"Dressing Babies in Sweatshop Clothing: Dallas Cowboys, Ohio State and a Creepy Business."

  • Workers-the vast majority women-are locked in the factory.
  • Drenched in their own sweat-since temperatures routinely exceed 100 degrees F.
  • Mandatory all-night, 19-to-25-hour shifts are common when the NFL/NCAA garments must be shipped.
  • Workers earn a base wage of just 78 cents an hour.  To survive, many working mothers must borrow money from factory managers every two weeks at a 20 percent interest rate.
  • Under the U.S.-Central American Free Trade Agreement, real wages for El Salvador's 73,000 export garment workers have actually plummeted 13 percent.
  • Workers are constantly cursed at and humiliated.  "You're like sh*t," they are told.
  • It is common for workers to be kept an extra hour each day, without pay, to reach their excessive mandatory production goals.
  • "When the women tried to exercise their legal right to organize a local union at the Style Avenue factory, they were immediately fired and blacklisted.  The Salvadoran Ministry of Labor has demanded the immediate reinstatement of the illegally fired workers, but factory management refuses," said Charles Kernaghan, director of the Institute for Global Labour and Human Rights.
  • The U.S. Government has allocated over $142 million to "enhance respect" for worker rights under US-CAFTA, but workers report no improvements in working conditions, wages or labor rights.
  • Dallas Cowboys is attempting to monopolize the production of NCAA university licensed goods.  United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) is fighting to protect the rights of workers.


"I feel like a prisoner in a maquila factory... I would tell [Cowboys and Ohio State] that...we have a starvation wage, a wage of poverty, of misery... They should keep an eye on the bosses here, how they maltreat us."

                                                                                                              - Style Avenue Worker


According to Institute director, Charles Kernaghan, "It is incredible, but the workers at the Style Avenue sweatshop factory are paid just 10 cents for each Dallas Cowboys or Ohio State logo infant creeper they sew.  The garments retail for $15 to $20 each.  This means that the workers' wages amount to less than one percent of the garment's retail price, trapping the workers in misery."


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