October, 12 2011 |  Download PDF |  Share

Dressing Babies in Sweatshop Clothing: Dallas Cowboys, Ohio State and a Creepy Business



Executive Summary

  • NFL and NCAA garments sewn under gross sweatshop conditions at the Style Avenue factory in El Salvador.
  • Workers paid just 10 cents for each $15 Dallas Cowboys and Ohio State infant and toddler creeper they sew. Workers' wages amount to less than one percent of the garment's retail price.
  • Enormous NCAA mark-up on sweatshop goods. The total cost of production for collegiate logo creepers is just $1.80, which means the mark-up on the $15 NCAA garments is over 800 percent!
  • Dallas Cowboys' owner, Jerry Jones, wants to monopolize the production of all NCAA licensed goods. United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) is fighting to protect the rights of workers.
  • Workers are locked in the Style Avenue factory.
  • Women drenched in their own sweat, with factory temperatures routinely in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Mandatory all-night 19-to-25-hour shifts when NFL/NCAA garments must be shipped to the U.S.
  • Workers are paid a base wage of just 78 cents an hour, and 99 cents an hour if they receive their attendance bonus. No one can live on these wages. Women report borrowing $40 every two weeks from a member of management at a 20 percent interest rate, meaning they have to pay back $48 every 14 days, including $8.00 in interest.
  • Under the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement real wages have actually fallen by 13 percent for El Salvador's 73,000 export garment workers.
  • Filthy drinking water and dirty bathrooms lacking even toilet paper.
  • Constant verbal abuse: "You are like shit," the workers are told.
  • Workers are at the factory 60 hours a week, forced to work 11 ¾ hours of overtime, much of which is unpaid.
  • Six workers illegally fired for attempting to exercise their legal right to organize. The Salvadoran Labor Ministry has demanded their reinstatement, but management refuses. The government fined Style Avenue a pitiful $57. There is no response from the U.S. Government.
  • Despite spending over $142 million to "enhance respect" for worker rights, the U.S. Government seems either unable or unwilling to assure respect for the basic worker rights protections afforded under the U.S.-Central America/Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement. Despite zero protection for workers' rights, the corporations are the big winners, able to important their goods to the U.S. duty-free.




An Appeal to the NFL and NCAA
By a Single Mother with Two Children,
Fired from Style Avenue for Asking for Her Legal Rights

"...I feel like a prisoner in a maquila [factory]...  I would tell [Cowboys and Ohio State] that they should pay more attention, not only to the product for export, but to the wages.  That they should verify that we are not earning well, that we have a starvation wage, a wage of poverty, of misery.  That maybe they could be a little more conscious, because they don't know how much we sacrifice to make the garments with 100 percent efficiency and with quality-and they should value this.  That they should keep more of an eye on the bosses here, how they maltreat us, and the ability [we have] that is not paid and they should pay for it."

Like any good mother, she wants a better life for her children:

A four-year-old daughter of a working mom at the Style Avenue factory

"But I don't want a job in the maquila for my children, because it is a job where they exploit you.  Even if one does things, they shout at you.  Even if you do your work carefully and are caught up, you're always shouted at.  They always ask more of you.  It's not a normal lunch time.  They let us out for 45 minutes, and we finish eating in half an hour, because we have to be there before the bell rings."

"I tell them [my children] that I feel like a prisoner in a maquila, and this is my punishment because I didn't get an education, and I tell them, even if we have to eat grass I'm going to give you studies so you can be professionals-because one wants the best for one's children even if you continue being the same..."


Dallas Cowboys creepers made in Style Avenue, sold at $15 in Cowboys stores.


Style Avenue produces 3-pack bodysuits sold at $24.99 for NFL teams including the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Green Bay Packers, the Minnesota Vikings, the Tennessee Titans, the Arizona Cardinals, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Orlando Raiders, the San Francisco 49ers, the Chicago Bears, and the Miami Dolphins.


NFL creepers sewn under illegal sweatshop conditions at the Style Avenue factory are also sold at Wal-Mart.  The Style Avenue workers immediately recognized the NFL blanket sleeper for sale at Wal-Mart. 

Reebok appointed Outerstuff as their sole licensee to produce Reebok/NFL children's wear (except for the Dallas Cowboys, which is handled by their own Dallas Cowboys Merchandising).


Enormous NCAA Mark-up

Boise State and Utah creepers
Total production cost per creeper is just $1.80!

The same NCAA/NFL creeper retail at the low end of $8.00 up to $20.00
Sweatshop workers paid just 10 cents to sew each creeper


Shipping Document smuggled out of Style Avenue factory (March 30, 2011)



NCAA production order smuggled out from the Style Avenue factory

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