January, 24 2011 |  Download PDF |  Share

Ocean Sky Sweatshop in El Salvador: Women Paid Just 8 Cents For Each $25 NFL Shirt They Sew

Spanish Version / Versión Español


Executive Summary

At the Ocean Sky Apparel Factory in El Salvador

  • Women are paid just eight cents for every $25 NFL T-shirt they sew, meaning their wages amount to just three-tenths of one percent of the NFL's retail price.  The workers are trapped in poverty.  But it does not have to be like this.  If the NFL doubled the women's wages to 16 cents per shirt, their wages would still amount to just six-tenths of one percent of the shirt's retail price.  The NFL/Reebok should be able to afford this.
  • The 1,500 mostly women workers at Ocean Sky are locked in a Free Zone, surrounded by barbed wire and patrolled by guards armed with shotguns.
  • Ocean Sky also produces garments for Reebok, Puma, Old Navy (GAP), Columbia, Talbots and Penguin (Munsingwear).  The clothing enters the U.S. duty-free, despite the fact that El Salvador is in blatant violation of the labor rights standards in the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement.
  • Workers report being drenched in their own sweat, since afternoon factory temperatures reach 98 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Workers are constantly cursed at and humiliated.  Supervisors hurl garments in the workers' faces.  A manager recently told the workers:  "You might as well stick your heads up your asses."
  • Factory drinking water is filthy and contaminated with fecal coli which can cause diarrhea, intestinal illness and infections.  Six workers were fired for daring to alert their colleagues that the factory water was unsafe to drink.
  • Security cameras inside the factory monitor the workers' every move.
  • Illegally, all overtime is mandatory.  Under constant pressure to meet excessive production goals, many women arrive early to start working before their shift begins and work through most of their lunch break-unpaid.
  • Workers earn a base wage of 72 cents an hour, and 92 cents counting the attendance bonus.  No one can survive on such wages.  Even the Salvadoran Ministry of the Economy puts the workers' wages at one-quarter of a family's basic needs.
  • Anyone daring to even mention the word "union" would be immediately fired.
  • The U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement has lead to a race to the bottom, where workers are stripped of their rights, paid below-subsistence wages and trapped in poverty.
  • Corporate codes of conduct and company audits have failed miserably.  In fact, the Ocean Sky workers have no idea what a corporate code of conduct is or how it could help them.
  • The Institute for Global Labour & Human Rights and Women Transforming are calling upon U.S. and Salvadoran government officials, along with representatives from the NFL, Reebok, Puma, GAP, Columbia, Talbots and Penguin to meet with the workers in the Ocean Sky factory to explain to them-for the first time-that they have rights and should be treated with respect.


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